As August comes to an end, attention for a lot of parents turns to the begining of a new school year. Each year is important whether they are starting creche, playschool, school, new class, secondary, exam years, college etc…..
They are all transtions and bring change.
Just when we get comforable at one stage, another looms. With the change can come a mixture of emotions and anxiety (for us and/or them!). So is there anything that can smooth the transition?
Every parent, child, family situation and stage is different so it would be a very long list to try cover specific tips or techniques and, probably, you will have figured them out yourself anyway. Below are 5 general ‘shifts’ in our thinking or doing or being which can apply to anyone at any stage.
Accept Change. Change is inevitable. As sure as night follows day and autumn follows summer, change happens. Sometimes we have some control or choice and sometimes we do not. Either way, the degree to which we engage is the process can determine how stressful it is – or not.
Your attitude will have a big impact on theirs. If they are young they pick it up even more so than when older.
So, being open to a new stage and open to all the possabilities it can bring is a great starting point. It is just as easy to go into the months ahead thinking that as it is being worried about what it they might bring. Easier in fact!
Plan ahead. As individuals, some parents may be very organised and structured so they will bring that to their parenting. Others may find this harder. Either way, planning and preparation can save time and stress. This can vary from having books, bags, clothes etc ready to making lunches the night before if you know your morning schedule is very tight. When they are older, help them to help themselves!
Routine and structure is important as it gives them a sense of security – they know what is coming. It also can help their confidence and esteem as they can pre-empt what needs to be done and feel good about themselves. It brings some familiarity at a time where there is a lot unfamiliar.
As parents the best thing we can do is prepare them for life, not protect them from it!
I heard this fabulous quote some years ago and so many times it is relevant and especially so in this context. It does not mean that we abandon them to risk and danger, but it does mean that we cannot hold back time and the natural essential transitions it brings. We can be there to listen, talk, encourage, love, support and guide them through the transitions. Whatever these new ‘starts’ bring is all part of their journey and know that having an adult there who is ‘there for them’ is valuable beyond belief.
Be present when you are present. When you are with them, be with them. 100%! Sometimes we are there in body but busy doing other things. Our minds might still in the office, on that coversation we had with someone or worrying about how next weeks bills will be paid! Those things may need head space at some time but ‘choose’ to give it later! Also, notice how often your mind is caught up in the past or projecting ahead to the future? How are you right now? You may be worried about how they are settling in and how they will cope next week, next month, next year – but how are they today – right now?
If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he
needs the companionship of at least one adult who can
share it, rediscovering with him the mystery of the world
we live in.
( Rachel Carson)
I would love to hear from you. If you have any thoughts, stories feedback or ideas you would like to share, please forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org