Back-to-School Challenges and Solutions
Posted: February 7, 2019
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.
- 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.
- 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.”)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.