I always feel kind of bad writing Back To School posts. I am still a child at heart and just want the summer to never, ever end. This is especially true, since I live in Ohio and the winters can be rough. I know most people feel the same; we just want to hold on and never let the summer go. Children also feel this way. Although they are excited about the new school year, everyone misses the carefree days of summer.
I would say it is a bittersweet time for most people. Throw in all the stuff that needs to be done, doctor appointments, school supply shopping, clothes buying etc., it can be a pretty hectic.
So, how can we help ourselves get through this time period without losing it? How can we start the school year off right?
Here is one simple tip that can help:
Name the feeling:
As we mentioned above, children (and adults) usually have 2 feelings about this time period; they are excited to be going back to school but still fight the change in their laid back schedule. It is a time of transition, which is hard for many children. They misbehave and act out, making everything worse. To help ease the tension and improve their behavior we can help them express their conflicting feelings, by reflecting and naming their emotions.
“Most kids have two feelings this time of year, excited and sad. We are looking forward to school and seeing our friends, but we are also sad because the freedom of summer is ending.
We are getting ready for a fresh start, new books, new clothes, new shoes but we might not know what to expect new friends, new teachers or a even a new school. So it is kind of a happy/sad time of year.”
It is confusing for children to have contradictory emotions. Introducing children to the emotionally sophisticated notion of experiencing two feelings at the same time can help children feel relieved, safe and understood. This in turn will help them behave better.
What about children who struggle academically and might not be looking forward to school? We need to be encouraging as well as name their 2 feelings for them.
“You seem concerned about school. You seem to be excited about gym, art class and math. You probably are wondering about your teachers and who will be in your class. You might be feeling a little bit worried too. Those are some pretty normal worries for kids at the beginning of the year. Just know that we are here to talk if you need us!”
Want to learn more great ways to start the year off right? Listen to our therapist Favia Becker in this highly informative Webinar:
Click here to get the link: