Written by Maria Freeman
Back to school is here! Returning to school is very exciting, but making the shift can also be nerve-racking for parents and kids alike. Coupled with a positive attitude, here are a few helpful pointers to ease the transition from summer to school and minimize the anxiety for you and your kids!
- Be Prepared: Find out as much as you can about the upcoming school routine and talk to your child about it. This helps kids to worry less about the unknown, where most of our anxieties stem from.
- Focus on Feelings: Remember to always acknowledge kid’s feelings. Many kids like to talk about their concerns and worries just before they fall asleep, so schedule in time for pillow talks during their bedtime routine.
- Listen First: Finally listen, listen, listen. Ask your child open-ended questions to help eliminate a short yes or no response. “What was the best thing you did at school today” or “What was the best game you played at recess today?”
- Keep Calm and Parent On: If your kids see and feel that we are calm and organized, they will be too.
- Build a Routine. . Have them lay out the backpack, school clothes, and prepare school lunches in advance.
- Plan Breakfast: Setting the breakfast table the night before and items required to make breakfast can also be one less thing to think about.
- Take Time for Goodbye: A mindful and positive good-bye is a great way to start the day and easy anxiety.
- Make it Special: This can be as simple as a handshake, a butterfly kiss, or simple phrases like Love you to the moon and back” or “See you later alligator.”
- Stay Focused: At the end of the day, focus on your child while including a pick-up and hello ritual as well.
- Make Memories: Rituals during the school year can also create beautiful positive childhood memories to hold onto.
- Fuel Their Day: Think about feeding your child food such as protein, vegetables and fruit that will help to fuel a full school day and leave your child feeling satisfied.
- Connection is Key: Many experts have written to be the best parent you can be connection is key!
- Share a Piece of You: According to Deborah Macnamara, Founder of Kids Best Bet , having children physically hold onto something associated with their parent during the day can be helpful in bridging the distance and staying connected. Dr. Macnamara suggests placing a photo of you inside a locket or in his pocket to look at and hold when needed, a sweet love note, or even a special rock.
- Prevent Bullying: As Dr. Laura Markham of Aha Parenting says, “Stay connected to your child through thick and thin.” Lonely kids are more likely to be bullied and to let themselves be bullied.”
- Connect, Then Guide: Markham says “Remember, parenting is 90% connection (a close relationship with your child) and only 10% guidance. The guidance won’t stick unless you have the relationship to support it.”
Build Family Rituals
- Create Rhythm: As Dr. Vanessa Lapointe (Discipline Without Damage) says: “Surprise and spontaneity are not generally well-received by most human beings. On the flip-side, having a rhythm to your days and your life provides a sense of safety.”
- Help Kids Relax: Lapointe says, “As they get a sense of how mornings go, how bedtimes go, how Fridays go (pizza night), how Tuesdays go (basketball practice) and so on, you will feel them relax right into that rhythm. Once this happens, the rhythm just carries the schedule forward and life feels a whole lot easier.”
Maria Freeman is an Elite Mompreneur® Member based out of Vancouver, BC. She is the founder of Little JOTS Note Cards, and was a finalist for the 2016 Mompreneur® Award of Excellence! Little JOTS Note Cards are a colourful and fun way to help stay connected and brighten your child’s day! Perfect for their lunch box, Little JOTS are a great way to let your child know that he or she is in your heart always even when you can’t be with them.
Dr. Laura Markham: http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/safety/helping-bullied-child
featured image courtesy of shutterstock.com