For most children, the next 30 days mean they are about to embark on a new school year! Most may know their new teacher's name by now, but not all. Kiddos begin to realize their comfort of being at home or school-based summer camps is winding down and they will be facing new challenges and responsibilities of learning greater skills. They will feel the expectations of aging up as they prepare for the new school year. For many, the excitement can be just that. Yet others feel a sense of dread as the anticipation builds daily, creating havoc and anxiety within.
Every child in every family is so different. While one child may fall on the can’t wait team another falls on the can’t do this group. Parents have to carefully manage their strategies for prepping their kids for that major first day back to school. The kids are worried about change, and if they will be okay.
"Which bus do I get on?" "Will I be able to do the work?"
"Will the teacher be nice?" "Will I know anyone in my class?"
"Will the kids like me?" "What if I miss my bus stop?"
The critical skill of recognizing big emotions as they begin to fester is the first step. It will help all children to know it’s time to take control of their thoughts before they escalate into a meltdown. Once they learn to recognize the physical changes in their bodies, like:
inability to focus,
snapping at others.
Families can bring books, resources, and games into their homes for everyone to benefit from, including themselves. It is the best way to help the whole family to engage in mindfulness techniques to support wellness.
I remember the struggles all too well. When our youngest daughter was in kindergarten, she was struggling with big emotions and worries. She could fall to sleep, but her mind would soon race, causing night terrors. Then in the morning, the restless sleep would cause her to be tired all day, and she would be anxious about being on time or having social issues with friends. Back then the trauma of anxiety had not yet been studied. We established care with a therapist who suggested she listen to a methodical story before bed to help with sleep issues. We didn’t realize then that it was a mediation story to help bring her cycling mind to a restful state. It did work, but it didn't solve the daytime anxiety and the fears taking over.
Several studies over the past couple of decades have uncovered data that proves practicing mindfulness techniques provides a reset of emotions and can help to alleviate some, if not all, of the symptoms listed above. It may not stop the anxiety from starting up again, but continuous steps to reframe thoughts may reduce the episodes from occurring.
Everyone struggles at some point in life. Knowing the tools to use when everything feels like it’s spinning out of control, will help to stop the mind-racing thoughts to bring clarity and focus back. It can take just ten minutes. Really, just ten minutes.
Families can support each other by sharing mindfulness tools and even helping to remind one another they can practice these tools together. Imagine the power a child can feel as mom asks them to help her feel better by playing The 5 Senses Game together.
When young children watch mom and dad use these skills as a way to manage their emotional health, they will be inclined to mimic them. Children mirror their parents starting from infancy. Modeling self-awareness and self-help techniques teach children to recognize their abilities to manage their emotional well-being.
My goal in writing Niko Discovers the 5 Senses Game is to empower parents with the skills and tools to share with their children starting with the first read together. The rest of the Niko products help children recall the story and learn how to build self-sufficient skills to play on their own. It’s a game the whole family can use together and independently.
School is coming no matter what!
Now is the perfect time to add mindfulness tools into everyday life as the anticipation grows over the next month. Each family member can benefit by learning techniques to manage big emotions. Children need their parents to show them how.
I am partnering with The Youth Mental Health Project. They provide resources for children of all ages and can help them through the challenges they face. I am hopeful that together we can bring awareness to the growing mental health problems around the country. So, if you purchase any items in my shop you can use the coupon code YMHP22 and you’ll get 10% off your total purchase, and the Youth Mental Health Project will receive 20% of all sales that use this code! Check out their mission. I hope that every child will get the support they need to learn to manage big emotions.
Maybe you can help with another project I am working on.
Become a Book Donor
I want to get Niko Discovers the 5 Senses Game into the hands of all Kindergartners, 1st, and 2nd graders everywhere. If you would like to donate 10 or more books to a school anywhere, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will provide special pricing on bulk orders beginning with 10, and the discount will increase as the volume increases. Bulk school donations will also include a letter to the school naming you as the donor, and letting them know they can add it to their classrooms or they can give the books away - it is up to you as the donor. Each book will include a QR code for an audio play-along recording (a retail value of $6.95 each) where I walk the listener through playing the game to encourage independent play so they can build their skills for resetting big emotions.
Schools and PTA’s
If you would like to learn about my new Author Visit program to read the story to K-3 grades can email for information. There is NO CHARGE for my time, just a minimum of book sales required. And, I offer fun extras at no charge, like joining me at a lunch table for kids who are interested in becoming an author one day. I will also make time for a couple of classroom visits after the assembly. It’s just another way to help bring kids' mental health to the forefront and show them they can do something to feel better when anxiety begins to creep in.
Make sure you've added mindfulness resources to your back-to-school shopping list to help improve focus, mindset, and calming big emotions. It’s the perfect time to set the year up for success. Don’t forget. Use the coupon code YMHP22 to save 10% and help support the Youth Mental Health Project in its mission. Check out my shop