Back-To-School AnxietyTop of Page

Tips to Help Kids with Back-To-School Anxiety 

The start of the school year can be rough on some kids. It's a big shift from summer's freedom and lack of structure to the measured routines of school. And sometimes that can build up into tears, losing sleep, outbursts and other classic signs of anxiety.

Click HERE to read and learn details about putting these helpful tips into action for your child:

  • Listen to your kid
  • Be specific
  • Let kids be the experts
  • Positive messaging 
  • Talk through previous triumphs 
  • Reach out to the teacher
  • Start the routine early 
  • Do a dry run
  • Social connections 
  • Don't ignore clothing anxiety 
  • Read some books 
  • Chill out after school 
  • Remember: Easing anxiety can take time 
  • Parents have anxiety, too
  • Signs that it's not normal
And one more article about dealing with BTS anxiety:

Encouraging Independence & ResiliencyTop of Page

Find yourself guilty of over-parenting? It happens to the best of us even though we know how important
it is for our children to develop independence and resilience. We all want to protect our children from
harm and keep them safe. But when we overprotect and don’t allow our children to struggle, they miss
out on valuable opportunities to grow and develop life skills and confidence. Here are some helpful
articles on encouraging your child’s independence and resilience:

  • Explore curated collections of resources related to building the skills, mindsets, and necessary
    supports to help young people confront adversity, cope with challenges, and demonstrate
    perseverance to attain goals. 

And, don’t forget later this month we are fortunate to have parenting expert Laura Markham
present at our Common Ground Speaker Series. She will offer helpful guidance to provide
empathy and clear communication to raise a self-disciplined child. More info:

Parent SEL Resource GuideTop of Page

Click HERE to find a curated list of blogs, articles, and videos for parents about fostering SEL skills like kindness, empathy, gratitude, resilience, perseverance, and focus in children (from Edotopia).

What is "Bullying"? Top of Page

The term "bullying" is used a lot these days. But what type of behavior is truly considered "bullying"? We encourage you to read this article that focuses on this issue: What Bullying Is and Is Not.

Digital Citizenship
Top of Page

Parents and schools need to work together to keep our children safe online and to teach them how to be respectful digital citizens in today’s complex world. Some advocates say the most important thing adults today can do for the next generation is to work in partnership with other parents and teachers to create a village of support when it comes to digital technology use. To that end, here are some links to help you and your child navigate all of this together safely and respectfully:

Time Out On Screen Time?Top of Page

Like it or not, our screens aren’t going away. They are very much a part of our world today. You’re reading one now. But unlike our children, our brains have fully developed. There’s plenty of info out there on screen time’s effects on children. With the holidays approaching, it’s as good a time as ever to stay informed!


Mindful Breathing Top of Page

Image used for Wildcat Wellness, mind full or mindful
For many parents, the holiday season can be a beyond-busy season. It brings a mixture of excitement and trepidation — so much to do, so little time. There is a good reason that “hustle and bustle” and “Christmas rush” are our culture’s December colloquialisms. An unwanted add to our stress is that our children pick up on the adult energy around them and they too can feel frazzled. Practicing mindfulness is one simple way to settle our minds and tend to our hearts as we approach the winter holidays. 
Mindfulness gives us a way to take a brief “time out” from the list making, worry, and the frantic state that too often goes hand in hand with holiday preparations and celebrations. While there are many definitions for mindfulness, I tend to think of it as clearing your mind of distractions and directing your attention to the here and now, without judgment. 

When we are mindful, we are more calm and can achieve clarity. Research shows that regular mindfulness practice can help to reduce stress, enhance concentration, improve memory and support overall well-being. One of the easiest ways to introduce children to mindfulness is by teaching them the power of their breath. While there are many tools we teach students related SEL, the breath is the most primary and effective way of self-regulating. Taking a deep breath, as simple as it may seem, may be one of the most valuable lessons that we can both learn and teach.

“Belly Breathing” is Key (aka Diaphragmatic breathing)
Diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing or deep breathing is breathing that is done by contracting the diaphragm, a muscle located horizontally between the thoracic cavity and abdominal cavity. Air enters the lungs and the belly expands during this type of breathing.This type of breathing is crucial in order for breathing to help calm the body and mind. Belly breathing contrasts the rapid, shallow breathing we tend to do when tense or anxious. 

How to Breathe with Your Diaphragm 
Lie down on your back on a comfortable surface or on the floor with a pillow under your knees. Place a book on your abdomen, near your belly button, or place one of your hands on your belly. (For younger children, you might try using small stuffed animal in place of a book.) As you inhale, allow your stomach to push against the weight of the book. The book (or stuffed animal) should lift with the inhalation. As you exhale, allow the pressure of the book to push your stomach in. Continue to exhale and let your stomach fall until you have expired the air. Repeat for a few minutes or up ten minutes. Allow the air to flow evenly and slowly. Remember to breath slowly and if your attention drifts, bring it back to observing your breath and the movement of the abdomen. 
 Try This At Home
  • Hug someone tight and take 3 big belly breaths together. Notice out loud how you each felt before and after. Repeat daily! 
  • Take a mindful minute each morning and each evening as a family. 
  • Try a mindfulness or meditation app with one of your children such as Insight Timer or HeadSpace. 

Additional Resources

When was the last time you did nothing for 10 minutes?
Andy Puddicombe, founder of HeadSpace, gives an inspirational TED talk about the rejuvenating power of taking 10 mindful minutes each day.

Cute Sesame Street Belly Breathing Video for Young Children


Erik Peper, professor of Holistic Health at San Francisco State, is a world expert in the mind body connection. He often teaches and write about the ways in which mindful breathing can prevent and treat a variety of physiological and psychological disorders. Click here to learn more.