I recently came across this article about the back to school transition from Aha Parenting, and felt this aligned with providing additional information to my post last week. I think this year more than previous ones parents and children need all the support and resources they need to help in this transition that is unique compared to even last years back to school, and definitely the years prior. As it is a US based article some of the information is not as relevant. I think the important highlights of the article are supporting familiarity with any protocols and the classroom, facilitating bonding with teacher and other children in class, having a good-bye ritual, and providing your child a mental movie of the first day by talking through what the first day will look like. I hope some of this information will help your child(ren) get off to a great start for this school year!
With heading back to school in less than three weeks I felt it was important to include a post about supporting the transition. A whole day course or more could be dedicated to this topic as some children need more support than others with transitions, and added to the mix of going back to school with covid restrictions depending on where you live. Giving your child the time to adjust and know what to expect usually aligns with readiness and ability to adapt and cope as they return back. Here are four ways to support the transition:
1. Starting to Adjust Back to Routine in Small Increments
For some families this may be progressively having your child(ren) going to bed a few minutes earlier each night depending how late their bedtime has become. For other families this may be waking up earlier each day in small increments so the body has time to adjust to the new wake and sleep times. Other things to consider: meal times that correspond with school times, getting used to reading or doing some form of academic work for part of the day, and being more around other children.
2. Readiness in Terms of School Supplies
Starting to shift gears in the mind and being able to visualize a transition helps when we have things that correspond with this transition. For example picking out the outfit they will wear on the first day of school, and other school items (indoor shoes, lunch bag, back pack, mask, hand sanitizer). Even supporting them in drawing or writing about their ideal first day back to school.
3. Adapting to Being More Around Others
For some this may apply more to your child(ren) than others. Being out more around other children within covid guidelines, for example being at a park. Supporting your child(ren) safely join in with other child(ren), initiating play and other important social skills. With the pandemic a lot of child(ren) are impacted socially so finding ways for them to readapt to being around other children and engaging.
4. Providing a Safe Space for Questions and Discussion
Giving space for your child(ren)'s questions about returning to school, what it may be like, when do they have to wear masks, and letting them know any relevant information from the school that is child appropriate. Also giving them space to share about any of the feelings they are having, and supporting them in figuring out ways they can cope with these feelings in the moment and if they arise when they are at school.
I came across this article yesterday about balance and checking in midway with summer vacation. I think it is important to check-in with any situation about what is working and not working, to see what changes can be made, potential compromises, and adjustments to the existing routine or schedule. I particularly liked the first tip about boundaries around screen time and the direct benefits of each hour spent outside on improved mental health. I believe boundaries around screen time can be helpful anytime of the year. I hope you find something helpful for your family in the article!
The month of August is upon us, with the final month of summer I search for moments to take in beauty of this season. One of these times is family vacation time, which looks different in times of a pandemic and has its own limitations and stresses, but none the less important for recharging the system and finding ways to take time for yourself. I came across this article I originally read summer 2019 and felt there is many points that still resonate and apply to current times. The article talks about ways to support children during family vacation and helpful tips to create a sense of balance with the varying schedules and environments. May your summer vacation bring you time to recharge and refill your self-care cup!
I am a Registered Psychotherapist and Art Therapist. And I have been writing this blog since May 2021 about various topics including parenting, supporting adult and child mental health, and holistic approaches. The intention of this blog is to provide resources and information to others, however it is not intended to take the place of therapy. If you have any questions about anything written please reach out to me.