Finding Your Back-to-School Rhythm

Dr. Michelle Robin explains how families can find a rhythm that sets their kids up for success as the new school year begins. 

Story by Dr. Michelle Robin

Summer is winding down. Back to school sales are popping up. You can almost feel the simultaneous excitement, anticipation and dread of kids (and parents) everywhere. It’s that time of year.

It’s also a time of year that can be a bumpy transition from one rhythm to another. Summer is laid back and fun with fewer rules, schedules and responsibilities, even if your kids are in this or that camp. It’s the nature of summer: sleeping in, staying up, eating what you want, just letting loose.

Now it is time for a new rhythm. I’m not just talking about the shift in your family schedule as the kids go back to school—yes, that will happen, but it is more than that.

Last year I was in a devastating accident when I was hit by a car while cycling. It took months to heal, not just my body, but my mindset and the impact to my life. What I realized was that I would not have been able to heal as quickly, completely, or well if I had not already been living a wellness lifestyle. The rhythm of my life created resilience when tragedy struck. It put the odds in my favor. I believe that to be true for all of us, including your children.

As you prepare your children and family to shift into the new school year, put the odds in their favor for a successful, happy and healthy year. Create a rhythm of resilience. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

  1. Build their physical resilience by increasing their nutrient intake. Ensure they’re eating more veggies, clean protein, and fruit. Decrease or eliminate sugar and processed foods. I know it’s difficult when the whole family is crazy busy, but take the time on a weekend to cook in bulk so that you have healthy meals ready to go. Get the kids involved so that they’re more interested in the good stuff.
  2. Build their social resilience by making a point to talk about their lives every day. If you’re intentional about having open dialogue about the good and bad, successes and “failures” of each day, then kids are more likely to come to you when they’re having trouble. That may be issues with a bully, a teacher, or feeling like an outcast. Make it part of the ride home from school or the dinner table conversation. Don’t give up if they’re less than forthcoming right away. Be consistent and kind, and they’ll know you’re there.
  3. Build their stress resilience with good sleep and study habits. Kids feel stress just as much as adults, particularly if they’re involved in sports or activities outside of school work. There will be times when stress peaks—maybe during midterms or before a big game. Help your kids manage stress through good study habits that make the work manageable in small bites over time. Help their bodies manage stress through consistent, good sleep habits. Sleep is when the body processes stress hormones. It is also when the body repairs and rejuvenates. We also fully process learning and memory during sleep, so all that studying will only stick with them if they sleep well.

Rhythm builds resistance. Make this school year happy and healthy with these small changes that create new rhythms for your children and family.

Dr. Michelle Robin is an author, international speaker, and Founder and CWO of Your Wellness Connection, P.A. She is the author of “The E Factor: Engage, Energize, Enrich – Three Steps to Vibrant Health, Wellness on a Shoestring: Seven Habits for a Healthy Life,” and co-author of the No. 1 bestseller “Succeeding In Spite of Everything.” Dr. Robin can be reached at [email protected], and as Dr. Michelle Robin on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.