Yup! It’s just about that time of year again where we are somewhat excited as parents to send our kids back to school but a little bit apprehensive because we know how busy the school year is. I just wanted to offer you some quick reminders before the school year starts (I know some of you have already started because I’ve seen the posts on Facebook).
It’s important to recognize that just like all the different emotions we have about school, our children also have lots of big emotions around this. Whether they are beginning kindergarten or entering high school the feelings of excitement and nervousness are starting to creep into their heads. We need to be mindful that we don't project our own fears and concerns onto our children and at the same time, be sure that we are not over-hyping it either. Some parents think, “This is going to be the BEST year ever!” and they say it out loud in hopes their children will start to feel that way as well. Some parents will talk about their concerns in front of their children and say things like, “I hope he makes the football team.” or “I don’t know how he’s going to make it all day without a nap.” So be mindful about what you say and where you say it and more importantly consider taking a different approach to having conversations about the new school year.
You might want to begin a conversation with your child by saying something like, “So what are you thinking about how Kindergarten will be?” or “I’ve noticed that sometimes you say you are excited to start middle school and other times I hear you say you’re nervous. Tell me more about that.” As your child begins to share, resist the urge to fix their problems and offer a solution.
Another big shift is the summer schedule versus the school schedule. Summer time may include times where maybe kids are staying up late, watching more tv and using their iPads more and overall not much structure. Then there’s the transition to the school year which likely means going to bed earlier, waking up earlier and having many academic and social demands. The transition needs to be just that, a transition, not a total flip of the switch. This transition will be easier once you are clear on your boundaries and you share in a conversation about the transition with your child. Pick a time to sit with your child and ask them what they think they will need to shift for the school year and how they think they will do it. This is a great practice (asking your child what they think first) so that you can hear where they are coming from. From there you can move into some shared brainstorming ideas of how to implement the transition and finally, pick something that is mutually satisfactory. My guess is, the more involved your child is in the process, the more likely they will be motivated to cooperate.
Overall, I think the best thing parents and kids can do is communicate their expectations, anticipate problems that might arise and have a mutually satisfactory plan of action on how the school year will go. Finally, a weekly check-in is ideal. It’s a good idea to have a regularly scheduled family meeting to go over the week and as a family figure out what’s working, what’s not working, and how are you going to make it work.
I wish you all a great 2019-2020 school year! Make sure to sprinkle in a bit of fun too!
Stay tuned for my Fall workshops or click here for my calendar!
And please remember to let me know if you want me to come to your school, office or home for any of my parent workshops!