Getting Ready for Starting School - 12 Great Tips to Make the Transition an Easeful Nourishing One for Your Kids and You

Summer is far from over and I hope you’re savouring it and getting chance to nourish yourself as well. Yoga nidra is one great way to replenish energy stores if you find your patience decreasing and your sugar cravings increasing!

One favourite memory last week for me was sitting around the fire at North Beach Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge (amazing campsite by the way!) reading a book I’m loving, smelling the fresh cedar air and listening to my brother Chris (the kids crazy uncle), his boys and my kids laughing and playing cards and chatting together. It was one of those, “wouldn’t change a thing moments'“ …

Dr. Laura Markham is a parenting educator that I like and this is her countdown to gently ease you and your family toward an enjoyable first day of school. Most are more for younger kids but I’ll be using a bunch with my 12 year old who is going to a new school this year.

* Note: I have added some naturopathic tips from my experience.

12. Start moving bedtime a tiny bit earlier every night. It's impossible to impose an early bedtime cold turkey on a child who slept in that morning and has the "school starts tomorrow" jitters.  One way to shift the schedule is to start having kids read in bed for half an hour or more before lights out, which is also good for their reading skills. (For younger kids, read with or to them.) Wake late sleepers a bit earlier each day. If your child is having a hard time falling asleep, be sure they're getting plenty of daily roughhousing that results in laughter, as well as outside physical activity.

*Chamomile tea is one simple child friendly way to help get into an earlier-to-bed rhythm that you could use the week or so before school begins. If your child is older melatonin can be used short term as well. I carry a mint flavoured low dose melatonin spray bottle in our health kit that our family uses as needed for jetlag/resetting sleep rhythms.

11. Tour the school, or at least the playground, with your child. If allowed, let your little one use the school bathroom. If your child will be walking alone, practice the walk several times.

10. Introduce your child to the teacher if at all possible. If you can, take a picture of your child with the teacher, put it on your fridge at your child's eye level, and talk to her like she's part of the family. "I know you'll love having Joseph in your class, Ms. Brown."

9. Set up playdates with a couple of other kids in the class so she feels more connected when she walks in that first day. If possible, arrange to walk with one of them (and their parent) the first morning.

8. Prepare your child emotionally.  Read books about the grade he'll be entering.  Describe to him what that first day will be like, how the drop-off will go, who will pick him up, etc. Listen to his worries. Reassure and brainstorm with him how he could handle those issues. Make up a "goodbye" rhyme or ritual and practice it.  Give him a laminated family photo for his backpack.

7. Decide any changes in family routines such as extracurriculars, chores or no screen time on weekdays, and talk with your child about the new routine.

6. Let your child choose her own school supplieswhether from around your house or from the store, and ready them in her backpack or bag.

5. Organize a place for each child to keep school books, supplies, backpacks, lunchbox etc. Set up a homework spot for your child to work (always in close proximity to the rest of the family rather than off in her own room.)

4. Organize paperwork with a different colored folder for each child to hold school forms and papers to be signed. If you don't have a family calendar that kids can read, set one up on a whiteboard.

3. Have kids pick out their outfits and backpacks the day before school starts, and make lunches for the next day. Don't wait until evening when kids are tired and need your attention to soothe their last-minute jitters.

* I like the Flower Essence Rescue Remedy to put in their water.

2. Have an end of summer family celebration the evening before school starts with an early dinner, and toast the highlights of the summer. Then go around the table and share appreciations:  "I appreciate that Michael helped in the garden this summer" ... "I appreciate that Sara worked so hard to learn to ride a bike."  Finish with "Looking Forwards,"  such as "I'm looking forward to when you come home from your first day of first grade and I get to hear all about it!"

1. Go to bed early yourself  the night before school starts so you'll be up early, rested and ready in the morning to deal patiently with any last-minute jitters or minor crises. Plan to leave the house 15 minutes before you need to -- at the worst, they'll have time to play at the school playground. And don't forget that "first day of school" photo!

* My kids are older now and love looking back at the first day photos where they pose with a piece of paper that says, “ First day of grade . When I grow up I want to be a ________.”

Dr. Monika Herwig ND is a Naturopathic Doctor, Acupuncturist, Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy Facilitator, mother of 2, and a Trailblazer with Happy Healthy Women in Canmore, Alberta. She practices Mind-Body Medicine especially around Adrenal, Gut, Hormonal and Mental Health in her clinic and leads Wellness Workshops and Retreats locally and internationally. Dr. Monika supports heart centered women shine their light and share their gifts with the world without burning out through whole life health and a functional medicine approach to wellness. She is especially passionate about supporting moms and moms-to-be and runs yearly Fairy Nature Camps for her clients’ children (and herself!). To book an appointment call (403) 609-8385 or go to www.opentowellness.ca.

Sighs and Dropping Shoulders - Letting go and Letting Be ...

Sweet morning to you.
My intention when I heard this poem was to send it out to all the mamas I know going through transitions and open to receiving maybe a little healing and empowerment from these words …maybe peace from these words … maybe a smile/sigh. But you know, it's bigger than just mamas going through transitions isn't it.  Would it be fair to say probably all of us - women and men - have something to let go of or are in the process of that letting go of … right now … life is always in this process of change and letting go comes with change doesn't it.  Some bigger changes than others - some seemingly harder. Sometimes the letting go feels so heart wrenching and seems so darn complicated and pretty impossible ... Please receive these words into your heart if they help at all and send this feeling of ease ... of acceptance - with me to the hearts of all those who may need it at this time and let this create a ripple of sighs and dropping shoulders.  I  love Rev. Saffire Rose's simplicity and send you great love and great peace with her poem.

She (He) Let Go - Poem by Rev. Safire Rose 

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgements. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the 'right' reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn't ask anyone for advice. She didn't read a book on how to let go. She didn't search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of all the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn't promise to let go. She didn't journal about it. She didn't write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn't check the weather report or read daily horoscopes. She just let go.

She didn't analyze whether she should let go. She didn't call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn't do a 5-Step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn't call the prayer line. She didn't utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn't good and it wasn't bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon ….

- Rev. Safire Rose