The start of school is always a hectic transition and bittersweet reminder of how time passes by quickly. The kids are getting older, and it can bring a multitude of thoughts, feelings and enthusiasm, or concerns. It's a wonderful time to reflect on their lives and what's ahead.
Readjust to Structure
As transitions back into school happen, routine is so important to reestablish. As you implement your routine by maintaining your parenting and home structure, allowing for some flexibility as adjustments are made foster a balance of structure and nurture during what can feel like an on-ramp process. It's helpful to use age-appropriate, clear language so your child adjusts to school year expectations. It's also okay to practice if needed. The physical movement of the body helps integrate with what the mind is trying to remember and incorporate.
Taking the time to see their efforts getting back into the routine and praising them for their intrinsic qualities such as initiative, self-motivation, and other forms of effort empower the children to keep adjusting. Thanking them for how their decisions positively impact you or the family help children see that they contribute to the family. These also communicate to your child that they are seen.
Get on the Same Page
Part of what can help with shortening the adjustment period is having conversations about what your child is experiencing with school, teachers and friends. Remaining calm-minded, curious and excited can be very helpful in allowing for helpful conversation. Talk about what their hopes and goals are for the year. What are they academically? Socially? Personally?
Conversations like this help your child feel heard. Adjusting back to school can carry an array of emotions, thoughts, anxieties and enthusiasm. Meeting their emotions with empathy and normalizing what they are feeling goes a long way in helping your child's nervous system feel calm and embolden them with their hopes. Again, highlighting their intrinsic qualities is tremendously valuable in knowing they have the character, personality and strength to pursue their hopes and goals.
As a part of these conversations, consider the following question for yourself as the parent, "What skill do I want to teach?" As families adjust back to school routines, it's a nice time to cast vision and identify what your child needs to grow to be a successful adult. With what they shared, it's easy to want to be helpful but inadvertently do things for them when it might have been a nice opportunity for they child to learn a skill. Take some time to evaluate if this might be the case. This allows for you to consider shifting how you parent in the opportunity before you.
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Andy is a therapist who provides positive, helpful, thought-provoking information and tools for you