Dealing with the back to school blues
Have you noticed too that the excitement of a new school year has worn off? The exhaustion is settling in for us and for our children. We are about to enter the era of excuses not to go to school. Cue “Mom, my tummy hurts” or “Dad, I don’t have any friends.”
While your children may have a myriad of reasons why they shouldn’t go to school, we hope that we can give you some strategies here to stay one step ahead.
- Cut back on social and extra curricular events for a while. Hear us out. Children are learning a lot and getting used to new teachers, classrooms, expectations, and friend groups, not to mention a new curriculum. They need some downtime in order to process all that change. Adding more activities to their weekly schedule can always resume once their bodies and minds have adapted to a new school year.
- As a follow up, schedule quality time with each child. Check in to see how they are doing, what they need right now, and how you can help. Some kids love to cuddle up and read books on the couch while others may ask to watch a show while holding your hand. Still others may ask for space, but take comfort knowing that you are there if they need you. Remind them that you look forward to seeing them after school and plan to do something together if time allows.
- Practice important conversations at home. Make a game of it and role play situations that may come up in their day. Here are some examples:
- How do you ask to go to the washroom?
- How do you ask to play with someone on the playground?
- How can you ask for help in the classroom or on the playground?
- What would you do if someone talked with an accent?
- What would you do if you didn’t like the way someone’s food looks or smells?
- How can you help a classmate who always sits alone during playtime?
- How do you play with someone who may have mobility challenges?
- How do you get help if you see someone being bullied or hurt?
- Giving children something to hold onto. When children are younger, they may have a special blanket or stuffed toy that they carry to unfamiliar places. As they get older and in situations where they are not allowed to bring items from home, we can pivot to things like:
- A sticky note in their lunch bag or a small token in their pocket
- Draw a smiley face on their hand and on yours, telling them to press it anytime they need a little bit of encouraging from home
- Give them a kiss on their palm to hold onto just in case they need it
- Reassure them about exactly where they will be picked up and by whom
- Finally, allow space for children to have different emotions about school. Be honest with them about some challenges you may have faced when you were in school or at work, after all we all have hard and easy days at work, days where we love our job and days where we are not sure if we ever want to go back. Children are navigating big emotions and need us to just be present.
Need help brainstorming more strategies for connecting with your kiddo? Get in touch with us via our helpline (778.782.3548), e-support (firstname.lastname@example.org), or book a parent coaching session here.