For some parents that comes with a sigh of relief as the kids will not be under foot as much, for other parents, it means they will be home schooling their kids and will require new structure and scheduling. Some kids will be having anxiety based on experiences from past school years. Whatever it is for your family, it will involve change; change of schedules, change of schools, teachers, friends and new curriculum.
Here are some questions to consider about change:
How does your child handle change? Does your child get excited and look forward to the new experience? Does your child feel nervous and anxious?
Each person has their own way of dealing with new changes including children. As an empowered parent, being able to acknowledge your child's response to change will be key in helping them through it with more ease, whether they are nervous and anxious or so excited they can't sleep.
Teaching your child to Acknowledge what is going on is the first step. Too often parents want to just make it all better by not acknowledging what the child is experiencing. A simple acknowledgement can be:
I see you are excited for the first day of school. Tell me what you know about that?
I see you are nervous about the first day of school. Tell me what you know about that?
And then listen to what your child tells you. This is real for them and to not acknowledge it or to tell them that it will be okay, can leave them feeling out of sorts and not empowered.
Once you have acknowledged what is going on for your child and listened to what they know about it, you can begin to ask some other empowering questions. I call this step B- Be the Question:
Is this (nervousness/excitement/fear/anxiety) yours? If it isn’t, you don’t have to hold onto it. You can send it back to whomever it belongs to.
What would you like to be right now? What do you need to do to be that? Is there anything you need from me now?
Imagine carrying around feelings that aren’t yours and yet many kids (and adults) do. Tapping into the energy and asking if it truly is yours or not can be the first step to changing it. Asking the child what they would like to be right now, will allow them to see that it is their Choice. We would like for our kids to always choose to be happy and carefree, however, the truth is that sometimes we all choose to be miserable, sad, frightened etc. What you want your child to know is that it is their choice. Empowered parents allow their children to choose how they want to be without judgment. You can’t really change them anyway. You can’t make them choose to be happy. If they do choose to continue to be less than happy, you can always ask them,
How would your day be different if you chose something else?
What's so great about holding onto your (fear/sadness/anxiety/etc)?
Nothing more is required from you. Again, this lets the child know that you know that they have choice. If you follow this 3 step process, of Acknowledge, Be the question and Choose, you will empower your child to ease into change if they would like to.
Now, how do you handle change? Are you projecting any of your stuff onto your child? You can apply this same 3 step process for yourself to begin to choose something different for you and your child may then be ready to stop taking on your projections.
How much easier can this school year be with these three steps? Easy as ABC?