The beginning of the school year can be a mixed bag of feelings: excitement, unease, nervousness, hopefulness, and more.
These are all normal feelings and sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is to listen with patience and without judging, and allow your children to express freely what they are feeling. It helps if you stay calm and realize that some of your children’s initial feelings don’t last.
Remember that some children who are temperamentally “slow to warm” may take a few months to adjust to his or her new teacher, new classmates, and new routines. In the meantime, you can:
- continue to listen
- break down what some of their concerns are so they don’t generalize and catastrophize (Is the problem the teacher? the classmates? a friend situation? recess? schoolwork?)
- engage in a problem exploration process, in which you help your child to come up with plans to deal with what is concerning them
- help your child to see what is good about school, without discounting the significance to them of what is upsetting them
It is often best if you don’t solve every problem for your children; give them the time to try to work out solutions on their own, with your support and encouragement. Sometimes, children learn more from learning to manage a difficult teacher or situation than if their parent comes to their rescue!By Claire Gawinowicz Certified Parenting Educator