Supplies for a Less Stressful School Year

I’ve said it before, high school is no longer a place for your child to explore what they might want to do with their life. It’s a place where often they worry about their rank and how many AP classes to take. It’s a place where some overschedule themselves to make sure they are invested in the arts, athletics, and service-the big three universities use to evaluate extracurricular activities. It stresses me out! Can you imagine what this does to our kids?

I’ll share a personal story. My daughter, who is majoring in theatre when she gets to college, was initially freaking out that she would get a B in AP Statistics. Mind you she never needs to take another math class again! As someone who lacks the math gene and would never have had the letters AP before a math class, I was blown away by this. Where was the “I tried my best, and I’m proud of myself?”

And don’t think it’s only high school. I used to teach preschool and we knew that children who couldn’t read 30 sight words by October of their kindergarten year were in danger of being held back.

 

What Is Wrong With This Picture?

 

When will our educational system think about the whole child? When will our kids stop merely studying for the test and taking certain classes in the hopes of attending the right university? Will we realize there are so many different paths to a successful future? And who defines success anyway? I for one think success is not measured by the size of your house or the kind of car you drive.

I’m not sure when the system will change, but I do know one thing, you can give your kids

supplies for a less stressful school year

 

Supplies for a Less Stressful School Year

 

So when doing your back to school shopping, consider some supplies that will help your children stress less. Not only will this help them navigate the intense waters of school but it will give them tools for life.

A Good Pair of Walking Shoes

Tongue in cheek, but seriously, getting your child outside, in nature, is one of the best things one can do to relieve stress. In some countries doctors are prescribing a daily walk in nature as a way to relieve stress and possibly help with depression. A simple Google search will result in hundred of articles about the many benefits of walking in nature. Have a dog? Make the daily walk your child’s chore. They may grumble but ultimately you are helping them.

A Yoga Mat

The mind-body connection in yoga as well as the focus on breathing are like a one-two punch for stress and anxiety. But not only that, yoga will help your child get fit and strong. My daughter has accompanied me to yoga classes at the YMCA. My son, now, that’s not an easy sell. But his coaches have said it’s a powerful tool for increased performance. Maybe a video is in his future. The yoga, health and well being products from yogamatters.com are gorgeous, a real stress-less treat.

Luxurious Bath Products

What is it about a nice long bath or shower that relieves stress? If you have teens, like me, you are probably thinking “do you know what my water bill is?” Yes, teens can spend a lot of time in the bathroom but I know my daughter is like a different person after she emerges from a long bath. Let’s teach our kids that it’s OK to take care of themselves. A luxurious bath bomb from Lush would definitely give your girl reason to hang out in the bath. For boys, why not give them an amazing scented bath soap? I personally love the Burt’s Bees Body Wash for Men.

An Adult Coloring Book

Gorgeous coloring books are all the rage right now. Amazon has a great selection.  I have the “Time Chamber” because the artist is Daria Song and I NEVER see my name on things! Hey, it’s as good a reason as any.

Coloring, like knitting, cross-stitching, pulling weeds or any rote activity, allows the mind to rest. When your child focuses on what they are coloring they are essentially practicing mindfulness, or meditation. Don’t underestimate these types of activities as anxiety reducers. My mother and I used to color at the kitchen table together and drink Russian Tea when I was in high school. Wow! Was she ever ahead of her time. So, brew a cup of tea, grab a latte to go, and have a coloring session with your child and let the anxiety melt away-for both of you.

Coloring, like knitting, cross-stitching, pulling weeds or any rote activity, allows the mind to rest. Click To Tweet

A Meditation App

I tried meditation years ago and either 1) freaked out that I couldn’t stop thinking about my to do list or 2) fell asleep. So I abandoned it. But recent articles and a great app have led me to realize that it’s not as hard as it looks-and-that’s its a must have for my overall health.

There are many meditation apps around but my favorite is Headspace. First, the man’s voice is not irritating to me. I could listen to that melodious Australian accent all day long. Plus, there is a ten minutes a day for ten day introductory series that teaches you how to meditate. His reassuring comments to “watch your thoughts go by as if you were watching cars go by on a highway” makes me feel okay for having a wandering mind sometimes.

My daughter-who would probably be mad if she knew I was sharing this with you-meditates by the elements of fire, earth, air and water. She imagines relaxing scenes in each element that remind her of a happy time-a campfire, a forest, puffy clouds and raindrops-for example.

Your kids may think you have gone hippie on them, but teach them to meditate. You will be giving them a tool to reduce anxiety for their entire life. Research shows that meditation changes the brain. Without boring you to tears, meditation reduces activity in the rumination part of the brain where your child’s mind runs away with itself freaking out about the million things he needs to do for school, sports, volunteering etc.  So, the next time your child starts to go into freak out mode, he can get himself out of it faster-thanks to meditation.

If you want a great guide on everything mindfulness, please read What Is Mindfulness? by Relax Like a Boss. This thorough reference discusses the difference between mindfulness and meditation, an explanation of the science behind mindfulness, 5 exercises and more!

By now you’ve probably picked up reams of college-lined notebook paper, highlighters and index cards. The stress of the school year is fast upon us. Consider some other types of school supplies to help your child have a calmer, happier year.

I’d love to hear from you. What do you do to help your child reduce stress?

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19 Responses

  1. Mandy Anderson
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    Oh I LOVE this! My son is a sophomore and it is so overwhelming with all they have to keep up with these days. The class choices are unreal! Less stress school supplies… genius!!

    • Daria Harvey
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      Thank you so much for your sweet comment Mandy! It is overwhelming, isn’t it? Let me know if any of these supplies help ease his stress!

  2. Lissa Clouser
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    My senior year of high school I had a partial mental breakdown in the middle of Wal-Mart in the middle of the night over school. I was a theatre kid, an honors kid, all that jazz too. Loved it! Most days managed it. But my AP Calculus class was a beast. The teacher was one of the best I’d ever had… but the math made no sense to me no matter what I did. (Thankfully she was a teacher that could tell the difference between ‘I don’t want to try’ and ‘I’ve tried everything and still don’t understand’ when it came to grades.) The irony of my ‘breakdown’? When I dragged myself off the floor (having laid down suddenly going ‘I quit’)…. I realized I was laying on the floor next to the self-help books! Not planned. I barely even knew what section of the store I’d been in when it happened! Now it’s a funny memory, but at the time? Man….. the work ethic of school messed me up rather than preparing me.

    • Daria Harvey
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      Lissa thank you so much for sharing your story with me! You poor thing. Yes, somewhere along the way the focus of school has gotten twisted. I hope that after your Wal Mart visit you were able to take care of yourself and your well being. Thanks again so much for the comment.

  3. Liana George
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    Very honest and creative post Daria! I think you made some really good points and spot on! I hope everyone who reads your post will make sure to pick up the supplies needed for a less stressful year when they’re stocking up on the other necessities for school!

    • Daria Harvey
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      Thank you very much Liana. I appreciate that. I hope readers stock up for themselves as well!

  4. Alana - Burnished Chaos
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    Great advice. My son is only 7 but I still think all of these points would be useful for him, as well as for me!
    #binkylinky

    • Daria Harvey
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      Thank you Alana. Yes! Start him young on a journey to self care! I hope you have a less stressful school year too 😉

  5. Kristin McCarthy
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    I used a meditation app when I had to sit in the carline waiting for my school aged kids to get out of school. It really did center me before chaos ensued.

    and your hair is freaking amazing!

    • Daria Harvey
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      Aww! Thanks Kristin! I get my hair from my daddy 🙂 Meditating while in the carpool line is brilliant!

  6. Emily
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    These are some great ideas. Will be utilising some of these when my girls start school! Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

    • Daria Harvey
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      I’m glad you found the post helpful. My pleasure to link up to #BinkyLinky 🙂

  7. Nige
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    Some great ideas really intersting read Thanks for linking to the #binkylinky come back next week please

    • Daria Harvey
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      Thank you Nige. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’ll definitely visit #BinkyLinky again 🙂

  8. Beth Brone
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    Love this post. I think so many of our teens need to learn these stress reducing strategies. Another one we use are essential oils. I know you probably do as well. The fave in this house is Wild Orange. If the girls come down in the morning smelling like an orange orchard I know they’re anxious about something!

  9. Beth Brone
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    Love this post. I think so many of our teens need to learn these stress reducing strategies. Another one we use are essential oils. I know you probably do as well. The fave in this house is Wild Orange. If the girls come down in the morning smelling like an orange orchard I know they’re anxious about something!

    • Daria Harvey
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      Thank you so much Beth. Yes, we love our essential oils here as well! I haven’t tried Wild Orange but we love Stress Away and Joy. I’m sending a diffuser and some oils with my daughter to college. Stress relief and room deodorizer in one! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  10. Sabrina Quairoli
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    This is great. I am seeing the stress of my son, a junior this year, already because he is taking two AP classes. He will be having a test on the first day back and has a project due in another class. He starts back tomorrow.

    All the suggestions are very helpful. I agree a good pair of walking shoes is important. If they love their shoes, please buy them a good pair of insoles to support their feet too. I’ve been dealing with foot issues this summer and have realized how much my kids need the arch support too. Hopefully, it will help them.

    • Daria Harvey
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      Great suggestion about insoles Sabrina. Thank you. Junior year is especially hard. It’s the year colleges look at the most. Add in looking for a college, taking the SAT-it is a lot of stress. I hope some of these tips will help and that he has an AWESOME year!

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