Back To Basics: How to ease the return to work and school jitters for busy families.

“Our greatest strength lies in the gentleness and tenderness of the heart.” – Rumi.

We can forget in the unscheduled euphoria of ‘holiday mode’ during the summer, that returning to work and school is an emotional transition for the whole family. Perhaps we have been trying to ‘get organized’ to prepare ourselves for the work year ahead? The truth is your family’s focus will shift during this time. It’s typical to feel a mix of excitement and anxiousness as we all adjust to new routines. An awareness of our own feelings at this time, helps us to have compassion for and better assist our children as they experience these things too. The beginning of the school year is an excellent opportunity to help our children cope with changes, face new things and impart lasting messages that will help them in their lives.

Here are tips on emotionally supporting your child to ease back into the school year (so it isn’t so scary);

  • Lay-low time – It is typical for children to have some fear of the unknown and navigating all the fresh experiences the school year will entail. You may want to have some chilled, ‘lay-low’ time in the evenings to allow your children opportunities to come to you and talk, without time pressure.
  • Thoughtful, open ended questions – If they don’t readily come to you, engaging in an ongoing, relaxed conversation with your children about aspects of the year ahead may help. Ask curious questions, in a playful, non-judgmental manner, which may get them to share more with you. Anticipate some possible stressors, ask them what are they looking forward to most and what kinds of things they are most worried about?
  • Support and strengthen – Whatever the issues, a child knowing that their parents will brainstorm solutions with them, as well as love and support them no matter what, greatly assists them to positively cope with stress. Validate their feelings, empathize and normalize them if appropriate, while also remembering to stay calm. Magnify their strengths where possible, use past examples of their demonstration of courage and let them know you have faith in their ability.

If you suspect more may be going on for your child, there are professional support staff that can help. Tame those back to work/school jitters, by acknowledging as well as celebrating when each of us overcome challenges and show resilience as the coming weeks unfold. All the best in the school year!

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