Posts Tagged ‘back-to-school’

PostHeaderIcon Back-to-School Challenges and Solutions

Back-to-School Challenges and Solutions

Hello, Parents!

It’s time for the annual adjustment to school schedules, and with them, renewed demands on your children.  Some of us feel great about the start of the new year, and some are not so enthusiastic.  Some are a combination of the two, depending on your child, and his or her previous challenges.

Here’s a list of ways to take care of not only your child, but also yourself, as the school year begins.

  1. Speak to your child in a matter-of-fact, curious manner when it comes to school. If you’re too enthusiastic, it could cause an anxious child to feel discounted, as your upbeat energy might express a feeling that’s the opposite of his or her own.  This could result in a negative response from your child, something many parents find mystifying. “I was just trying to be enthusiastic for the new year, and all he does is growl at me!”  If you’re not “reading” your child, you may be inadvertently causing him to feel unseen, which will always bring a growl.
  2. Gather the needed supplies, with your child in charge of the checklist. If you take care of it all, he or she misses an opportunity to choose wisely, and to feel empowered.  (Note: if you’ve already bought the supplies, keep the concept – empowerment is the “anti-anxiety.”)
  3. Let your child know you trust him to make good decisions and to do his best. This is different from telling him to make good decisions and do his best.  It’s a much more effective way to encourage him, as it says you think he’s capable, which allows him to think the same of himself.
  4. Keep the lines of communication open, but don’t drill your child for details after school. Allow some down time before you ask about her day.  Instead of “How was your day?” ask specifics, such as, “Who did you share lunch time with today?” or “Did anything funny happen at school today?”  Share your day, and ask your child for some advice.  This evens the playing field, and avoids a feeling of interrogation.  Also remember that it’s hard to remember your day when you’re a child, so go easy if they can’t recall much. Specific questions can help a lot.
  5. Take care of yourself by taking a moment to breathe and relax every few hours.  It’s stressful being the parent of school-age children, and the demands on you are significant. Accept help when it’s offered. Plan some evenings out, get a manicure, hit the tennis court, spend time with a friend.  Do not expect to just keep piling on responsibilities without balancing them with rejuvenating activities.  You’ll do yourself and your family a huge favor by practicing and modeling self-care.If you’d like help with this or any other parenting issue, click here.


PostHeaderIcon How to Manage a Peaceful Back-to-School School Transition

How to Manage a Peaceful Back-to-School Transition

It’s August 15th, and time to think about back-to-school emotions!

When school is about to start, what’s foremost on your mind?  What clothes do the kids need? Will their backpacks do for another year? How about folders, paper, and pencils? Are iPods allowed?  What time does the bus come?  Are lunches ordered or groceries purchased?

All the “practical” things rise to the surface with the yearly school-start ritual, but what really prepares children for the new school year is emotional readiness.

Maybe your kids are ready to kiss you goodbye and say, “See you after school, Mom!”  If so, you’re feeling very fortunate and sharing in their joyful anticipation.  If, on the other hand, your son or daughter is having some doubts about how it will be in the coming year, now is the time to help ease the fears the best you can.

1. Be mindful of using a tone of voice that doesn’t project “doom” about school.  If you’re not sure, ask another adult to listen to you and give feedback.  An example would be: “You know, once school starts, you’re going to have a lot more work to do and it’s not going to be easy.”  All the child hears is, “School will be horrible and I feel trapped.”

2. Instead of doom voice, use a realistic, encouraging voice.  Place your trust in the child’s ability to adjust smoothly.  “I know you’ll feel good about school once it gets started.  Think of all the kids you’ll see who haven’t been around all summer. ” Your child hears, “Dad thinks I’ll be OK.”

3. If your child struggles academically, remind him or her of the help that’s available. “Remember how Mrs. Carter was there for you last year, and you really made progress on your math?  She’ll be there when school starts, ready to help again!” Your child thinks, “Oh yeah, I forgot that some parts of school aren’t scary, like when I’m with Mrs. Carter and she explains things.”

4. Talk about taking things one step at a time.  Most kids panic because they feel they were supposed to already have done the current task by now.  Slowing down to allow them to truly absorb the material is the most helpful way to approach this.  “It seems like a big assignment, but it will really just be lots of little ones strung together.  I’ll get you started, and be sure to only do one small thing at a time.” Here’s another example where slowing down actually speeds up the process, as the defeated tantrum doesn’t have to occur.

5. Listen to the child’s expression of feelings without dismissing them.  “You’re really feeling worried,” tells the child, “I see you.”  No need to fix or talk him out of his worry.  Just listening can be so healing.

6. If your child struggles socially, instill confidence by saying, “I know it was rough last year when the kids teased you.  Let’s talk about how to respond or not respond when they do that this year.  Remember to ask an adult for help if the kids on the playground get too rough.  Remember to walk away when they say mean things.  Remember that you are keeping your power, and not giving it away by getting angry and getting into trouble.  And don’t forget that you had a great time with Simone on the playground last year.  I wonder how her summer was!”

For a wonderful article on dealing with a bully, click here.

For more help with back-to-school worries, click here to learn how parent coaching can be very useful.