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Another school term is underway, marking our return to the never-ending routine – school runs, homework, extra-curricular activities, weekend sport. With so much to do, it can all get a bit overwhelming; especially for our kids.

If you feel like it’s been particularly hard to motivate your little ones this term, know that you’re not alone. According to leading youth mental health service ReachOut, many young people are experiencing ‘school refusal’ – and its impacting families.

“For some families, the start of a new term can be a particularly stressful time as young people may struggle to return to the classroom,” says ReachOut CEO Ashley de Silva. “ReachOut is using this moment to remind young people and their parents and carers that support is available.”

While ReachOut recommends parents seek support for particularly challenging cases of school refusal, there are many things you can do right now to improve your children’s wellbeing (and your own).

Here are our top tips for looking after your family’s wellbeing this school term…

Exercise 

Everyone knows that exercise is good for physical health, but did you know that it’s just as important for your mental health? Even 30 minutes of exercise (whether it’s kicking a footy or walking on the beach) will trigger the release of endorphins and serotonin, our body’s ‘feel good’ chemicals. They’re essential for reducing the effects of stress, anxiety and depression, while also improving your sleep and concentration.

Limit your screen time

While technology undoubtedly makes our life more convenient (and enjoyable), we’re also becoming more aware of the adverse effects of screen time. While screen time recommendations will vary by age group, experts agree that it’s generally a case of the less time we spend in front of a screen, the better. To help keep your family’s screen time under control, try these apps.

Make time for your friends

Everybody needs a good friend. Unfortunately, friendship can easily fall to the wayside in the chaos of family life. But considering the health benefits spending time with friends can offer – increased sense of belonging, improved happiness, support through trauma and hardship and improved lifestyle habits – we’re making the case for prioritising your friendships. Yes, catching up with friends is good for your health.

Learn something new

Whether it’s a new language, a new craft, a new sport or even just a new recipe, when was the last time you learned something new? If it’s been a while, you may want to correct that – there are impressive health benefits that come with learning new things. Broadening your horizons and getting out of your comfort zone can boost your confidence, help you form new relationships and improve your quality of life. 

Get enough (and better) sleep

Sleep is one of those things – if it isn’t good, it’s really, really bad. Whether you’ve suffered with ongoing insomnia or sometimes fall victim to a restless night, you’ll know the impacts bad sleep can have on your daily routine. In this article, we spoke to three different health experts – an accredited nutritionist, a clinical psychologist and a lawyer-turned-naturopath – about their top tips for busy parents hoping to ensure some good shut eye.

Set goals

Think you hate goal setting? Think again. ‘New Year’s Resolution’ culture has turned goal setting into a competition (one you’re almost guaranteed to lose) but there are surprising benefits to goal setting that could change your view on it. Find out more about family goal setting right here. The key is to think small and achievable, building towards bigger goals rather than striving for them from the start – like this article suggests.

Enjoy time by yourself

Some people love being alone, others not so much – and for busy parents, ‘alone time’ is a totally foreign concept. But considering the fact that spending time alone can offer you opportunities for self-reflection and self-discovery (not to mention relaxation and more balanced emotions) it’s important to make time for it, even if that means scheduling a 15-minute solo coffee run or an hour in the bath into your family calendar.

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haven  

haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.