It’s happening; it’s really happening. Another school year is rapidly approaching. School supplies lists are out. Teachers lists are being shared, and schedules are about to get really crazy for families.
Sure, we as parents definitely look forward to the start of the new school year. It means our kids are back into the groove, at school all day, learning, kept busy. Some summer days can feel so long! On the other hand, we as parents are facing the fact that we all have maybe one, two, three or more children diving into a calendar year packed with homework, extracurriculars and sporting events. It can be really overwhelming to parents and teachers across the board.
Sometimes I have to take a step back when I am feeling like I am drowning in the kids’ schedules to try to take a minute to think about how THEY may be feeling during this chaotic time. Back to school jitters are a real thing —a feeling that arises and shows its colors in a multitude of ways in kids. It may be crying, yelling, panic attacks, upset bellies. The list of ways our children may allow the jitters to get to them can go on and on.
From making friends, new hallways to adjust to, curriculum struggles and missing home, it can become a daunting task as a parent or guardian to manage those feelings, and help your little one navigate those emotions when you are not there to hold their hand through it.
Our oldest two sons have both had very different health battles their entire lives — both of which have led them to miss a lot of school. They get sick very easily, have hospital stays and spend a lot of time at the doctors. They have become hyper-aware of how they are feeling, in fear of getting sick, and that in turn leads to nervous-nelly kids at school when I am not there to calm their fears.
After years of trying to figure out exactly what works for our boys, I finally feel like I have a few key steps to take to ease kids’ worries about different experiences they may encounter when coming back to school, or even throughout the school year.
First things first – EXPLAIN:
I remember thinking when my boys were little that the less they knew, the better. Fool me once, because come to find out that just allows their minds to wander and worry even more. Now, I do my best to outline the days as they come. Whether it be the night before school, or the morning of, simply explaining what the day’s schedule is like and allowing them to ask questions back helps ease the “whats going to happen next??” worry.
Second – RELEASE + RELAX:
This tactic came in handy more times then I can give credit. My boys both suffer from having anxiety attacks before and during school. No matter the scale of severity, I had to learn quickly to teach them how to calm themselves when I was not there to lean on. This technique is simple. When your child feels overcome with worry, teach them to acknowledge what they are feeling first. That this moment will pass. Take a few deep breaths, in and out (3 works!), and then release those icky feelings. If your child seems to experience these moments more often than not, I found it helpful to give them little things to think about that can help shift their mindset to a happier thought. So, as they are releasing their breaths, perhaps you told them to think about the new book you are going to read together after school. Or the trip to the playground, or ice cream treat you’ll enjoy before bed.
Third – PRAISE.
It sounds so simple, every morning, every bus pick up, every night before bed — at some point in the day, try your best in the midst of the crazy schedules to acknowledge that your child is doing a fantastic job! Even on days when they had a hard time, give them praise that they were able to work through it!
This back to school season, remember that we as parents all are in the same boat. And so are our children. Let’s do our best to instill in our kids to be kind, caring and compassionate, helping to make each day a little easier for everyone.
Back To School Photography c/o: jplusnphotography
Hosted by: @abby_thome [email protected]_llc
Set Design: @LittleMissPartyPlanner_hudson
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