Back to school time always reminds me of that old commercial that shows parents dancing around to the holiday song “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. I get it and I relate.
But it’s always more complicated than that. For us and for our kiddos.
There are LOTS of big feelings around back-to-school time for everyone in the family. Transitions are hard and can cause anxiety because we just don’t know what to expect.
I love Jen Hatmaker’s annual PSA about how to support your kids during their transition back to school. Cliff notes version – plan no outside commitments for the first week of school and the first weekend after school starts. As Jen points out, the kids are fried from trying to get their bodies back to a different pace and processing the sensory overload that comes from the school environment.
Anyone who has followed me for a while knows that I coach parents to control what they can–that’s YOU and your reactions. What are you doing to be ready for your child’s big feelings that will get spewed out all over you? Pause and remind yourself not to take it personally! Do you have your expectations adjusted appropriately? I promise you aren’t going to destroy your consistency by expecting the bare minimum and maybe letting a few things slide. Adjustment periods aren’t forever. This transition time is temporary. You can re-institute all regular expectations in a week or two when everyone feels leveled out in the new normal.
I’m not saying that anything goes. You just need to choose your battles. Think about how you want to show up for your family and game plan what you need so you can be ready.
Your children need their solid connection to you during this transition. Cutting them some slack demonstrates your compassion and will hopefully set the tone for a smooth start to the school year.