Back to school Butterflies that feel like Dragons
Posted: May 17, 2019
By Master Christopher Rappold
Can you think back to the time when you were starting a new school year? For some of us it is a far off distant memory. It can be so easy as a parent to simply fall into the thinking of, “don’t worry, be happy” or “what’s the big deal”. Imagine though, for a moment, how you would be feeling on your first day starting a new job. In adult terms that is probably closest to the potential of how your child feels going to school on their first few days.
Knowing this, I wanted to offer some helpful tips shared with me over the year by some amazing Personal Best Parents.
1. Imagine if it was you. Instead of meeting your child with an “it’s no big
deal”. Take the time to listen to their concerns no matter how off base you
think they may be. Listen first, use solutions and suggestions second.
2. Set the tone with your confidence. When children sense you have a
high belief in their ability to handle what is in front of them, often times they
are able to borrow some your self-confidence. Gently and appropriately
reminding them of their past successes is also a great way to build their
feeling of certainty.
3. Create “look forward to” moments. If anxiety is elevated, perhaps a
nice thing you can do is schedule a couple of things your child looks forward
to in their week. It may be having a friend over or going to their favorite
place. We always do better when we have a few things in our future that
bring us to a mental happy place.
4. Block out down time. Especially in the first few weeks of school as the
children and teens transition into a new schedule with time requirements,
avoid taking on any extra activities. Set your child up for success by easing
them into a manageable routine, which provides plenty of time for school
productivity and down time recharge.
5. Help to create familiarity. Depending on the age of your child, a school
tour with you may be a nice way to ease them into feeling more comfortable
at school. Also volunteering your time to assist at school can be a nice way to
warm up your child into feeling more comfortable with their new
6. Create Relationships Early. The more interactions you have with the
teachers at the beginning of the year the better. Keeping the teachers in tune
with how your child is feeling actually makes their job easier. It enables
them to use the right strategy to fit your child, instead of playing hit or miss
as they get to know a child’s likes, dislikes and fears.
Starting a school year can add a degree of stress to you and your children. Take the time to think strategically by incorporating some of the suggestions provided. A little time invested in advance I know will make a strong start to what could be your best school year ever.
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