Think back to all those annoying Back To School ads in pre-pandemic years. They don’t seem so bad nowadays, do they?
And as if parents didn’t have enough stress juggling back to school shopping and schedule juggling, throw in the concern about the physiological and mental ramifications of their kids having to wear a mask all day.
No matter where you stand on the masks-in-schools debate, one thing is certain for everybody: the back to school season of 2021 will be extra stressful for everybody involved. But I have some tips that I hope will help both you and your kiddos…
Deep Breathing Exercises With Kids
Regardless if your kid has to mask up in school, deep breathing exercises will support your child’s respiratory health. The first couple weeks of Back To School season is second only to the weeks of late fall and early winter for picking up a contagious virus.
But if your child has to wear a mask, I feel it’s imperative that your child practice deep breathing exercises. Hopefully, your kids will get plenty of outdoor recreation time. But if the opportunity to get some fresh air is scant at school, try to get your kids to do some deep breathing exercises with you.
So how can you practice deep breathing exercises with your kids? First of all, make it a habit to carve just 3-5 minutes in the morning dedicated to the practice, just as I have frequently advocated in many posts I’ve written about how important it is for my own sense of well-being to maintain a daily yoga practice.
Deep breathing exercises can come in many forms. For instance, you can combine deep breathing with yoga. And the best part is that you can do it right in bed. The yogic practice known as “pranayama” involves breathing exercises such as “ujjayi” (say it like this: Ooo-Jah-Yuh or Ooo-Jah-Yee) breathwork.
With this technique, you sit cross-legged and breathe in deeply with your mouth closed. Try to inflate both your belly and lungs. On the exhale, breathe out through your nose. Repeat this technique several times. Try to inhale for several seconds and exhale for 10 seconds.
After a while, you may start tingling. If you get light-headed, take a brief pause.
Imagine how beneficial doing this deep breathing exercise will be for both you and your kids. And again, it only takes a few minutes. Try to repeat the routine when your kids get home—especially if they don’t have any play dates lined up or aren’t engaged in other physical activity after school.
Try to make deep breathing fun for your kids. If they don’t want to listen to New Agey spiritual yoga music while doing deep breathing, tell them they can listen to their preferred style of music—provided that they do the exercises for at least a few minutes.
If your kids enjoy the deep breathing exercises, you can lead them through a mini posture flow series such as Sun Salutations with downward dogs, upward dogs and warriors. Again, all it takes is a few minutes to get the good vibes going, and the fresh blood flow circulating in the respiratory system!
Say No To Juice, Yes To Green Drinks!
Hopefully your kids’ school doesn’t have the same kind of vending machines that I had in school, filled with junk snacks and soda. But it amazes me how many parents still give their kids high-sugar juice boxes or pouches.
One tiny serving of these juices can contain 25 grams or more of sugar. Now I realize that behavioral issues are multifactorial, but dosing kids with a high amount of sugar in a tiny serving of juice certainly doesn’t help lead to stable moods.
Instead of giving your kid high-sugar juice, send them to school with Organic Tropical Green Drink. It’s got 7 certified-organic leafy greens with a wee bit of pineapple and mango juice for that perfect amount of sweetness (only 6 grams of sugar per 8-oz serving!).
In any year, if your kids are eating lots of sugary snacks and drinking lots of things with tons of added sugar, it’s not going to bode well for their physical and behavioral wellness. The last thing you want to do is pour salt on the wound during a pandemic.
I hope your kids have a safe and healthy back to school season!