back to school
First published in the Etobicoke-Lakeshore Magazine

It’s no surprise that anxiety and mental health concerns are top of mind for back to school season in 2020. This year has been full of stops and starts and so much uncertainty. When our own worries about health and safety are skyrocketing, how can we help our children stay balanced and calmer? The answer lies in building emotional regulation skills by adding daily mindfulness practice into our routines.

Wake up with Gratitude
Keep the mornings peaceful by acknowledging gratitude. Starting a family Gratitude Jar during breakfast can be a great way to express shared appreciation and start the day with positive thoughts.

Acknowledge the Ups and Downs Each Day
After school or work, begin a practice of acknowledging that everybody has good things that happen during a day and things that could have gone better. Sharing these ups and downs can help foster a supportive home environment where emotions are accepted and strategies for overcoming challenges are shared.

Calm bodies = Calm bedtimes
Establish a calming bedtime routine that includes sensory calming activities like a warm bath, warm milk or snuggles followed by a short body-scan meditation to teach children to feel the sensations of different parts of their bodies and calm each part individually to prepare for sleep. For guided body scans and sleep meditations, try the Calm.com App!

At Oak Learners, we believe in introducing mindfulness techniques to children from a young age and integrating the practice into our teaching throughout the day. Students are taught to recognize different feelings in their body, both emotionally and physically, which help to increase self-awareness and resilience habits. The result is happier, healthier and more functional children and families.

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