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So, my kids started back to school this week. My son is back with his friends in a familiar surrounding. Even though he switched schools to a bigger one, he has been going to the school for years for events and is comfortable there.
My daughter though, has moved on to middle school. I did not realize it would be this tough! New schedule! New routine! Bigger expectations! New teachers! She is coping the best way possible, but I found out a thing or two her first two weeks back that I want to share with you.
You know your child best. If they become stressed, they will show that in their actions. For example: Not sleeping, eating irregularly or not at all, complaining of stomach pain, nausea, headache. Support these symptoms. Schedule a visit with doctor and explain the situation. They may put them on supporting care for a while to get them through. Offer their favorite foods. Try to set a soothing night time routine. A favorite lotion that is associated with happy times may help also.
Touch base with their teachers.
Now, I am not saying divulge every secret, but email the teachers and introduce yourself. Open the communication gates, and establish a willingness to answer and ask questions. You are not with your child all day, but they are and can alert you to any issues. Then you can work together to resolve those issues so your child can become more comfortable with their new routine.
Know the school counselor.
This is an important one. Ask your child if they would like to speak to the counselor. If so, email or call the counselor, introduce yourself, and state your concerns. After all that is why they are there. They want your child to succeed.
Keep days off fun!
Maybe turn Fridays into a celebration. After school have an event for your child to look forward to. It doesn't have to cost a fortune. It may be their favorite treat or movie, but having something to look forward to at the end of the week may help them get through the days better. We all like to look forward to a joyful occasion.
Instead of, "How was your day today?" ask them if they had a fun moment or a stressful one. Kids tend to just answer, "Fine," then move on. If we ask more detailed questions, they will give more detailed answers and the conversation gate will be open. Sometimes our kids don't voice concerns because they are afraid how we will act or our opinion of them might change. Be reassuring. Even if my kids don't want to talk then, I always tell them I'm willing to talk anytime. My oldest actually likes to text me her issues and I am ok with that! At least she is communicating. I always follow up with a face to face quick chat later.
Cut yourself and your kids some slack.
This picture is a representation of how we end a school day! Even though my kids are older I still give hugs. Hugs say that it is ok without words. A hug can mean support and solidarity.
You will never have a great day everyday and neither will your kids. So if they snap at you when you are trying to get them out the door, just know it's more than likely them having to face a stressful day. If it is continued behaviour, then it would be a different issue and one that needs to be addressed. But everyone should be allowed a bad day once in awhile.
If you as parents work with your child, no matter how stressful it can be, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Deep breathing can and does help. Five minute meditation and relaxing music is a thing. No matter how crazy life gets, every family member should be de-stressing and taking a breath. You got this!!! Now go conquer middle school all over again!!