As the new school year approaches, we know that there are always some adjustments that need to be made. This sort of uncertainty can lead to extra stress. So how do we talk to our children about the upcoming school year? Here are a few ways you can best work through these challenges with your children.
Anxious feelings are normal when any change occurs. Children may feel anxious or unsure about the pivot back to school schedule from summer. It is important to maintain a direct line of communication between yourself and your child. This will allow for your child to feel as if they can express their feelings and you can help them cope with the adjustment.
Create a safe landing place
Just as you are experiencing, our children’s world is chaotic and in constant change. Processing these changes is difficult and overwhelming. One thing to remember is that a child’s behavior is a direct response to how they feel. If the lines of communication are broken with parents and caregivers, children feel increasingly out of control and behaviors become more and more negative. Be open and willing to create and hold space for your child. Be prepared for a tidal wave of emotional changes. Sit with your child and help them process and work through the emotions they are feeling. We must meet our child’s emotions with honesty, understanding, and empathy.
Coping and Resilience
To understand coping and resilience, we must first recognize and acknowledge that Newton's third law is true. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Learning to cope is not about changing the feeling experienced, but rather the ability to regulate it. To reach emotional regulation, one must learn to accurately identify, accept and express feelings in a healthy emotionally appropriate way. To help your child begin this process, sit down and work through this series of questions.
- Identify the emotion - what does the emotion look like?
- Identify when and what triggers the emotion - is there a specific location or event/situation causing the trigger?
- How do they feel when they experience the emotion - specifically where do they feel the emotion in their body?
- How do they express the emotion - how do they let the emotion out, fits, yelling, arguments, drinking, etc?
Allow time for yourself and apply grace! We are all doing the best we can. For more information on emotional regulation and coping skills, please reach out to us and we will help you get started with a clinician that specifically meets the needs of your family.