As we enter another school year I wanted to share my own good wishes to you. Back to school always comes with the whole spectrum of emotions and these are amplified even more as we face another school year that has a lot of unknowns, changes and adaptations due to the pandemic.
Here are some things we as the adults in kids' lives can do to help manage any anxiety or stress around back to school:
1) Acknowledge the feelings - ALL of them! Most of us, kids and adults alike, feel both positive and difficult feelings about starting a new year. We may feel nervous and worried at the same time as feeling excited and hopeful. This is all very expected! If we give kids space and opportunity to name some of those, that helps give them process what they are feeling and gives us insight into how to help them.
2) Remind our kids: We can do hard things! Starting in a new class can be hard. Making new friends can be hard. Adjusting to new routines can be hard. Having to go through the school day following covid-19 safety guidelines can be hard. But this is an opportunity to practice doing hard things, which builds resilience for the future.
3) Focus on strengths and gratitude. When your child feels anxious about school, help them to brainstorm who at school is there to help them, who makes them laugh or smile, who, and how, they can ask for help. What tools do they have to help when they feel upset? What are some things they enjoy about school or people they enjoy being with?
4) Remember kids need self-care too. Do what you can to ensure quality time at home for connection and downtime. Experts cannot stress enough the importance of physical activity, good nutrition and lots of sleep in terms of how these affect the positive mental health of our kids.
Parents - I hope you feel free to contact me at any point during the school year if you feel your child is having any area of difficulty.
I truly hope your family has a great September!