Back to School Cool
By: Hal Runkel
Making the transition from a holiday to the grind of school routines isn’t easy. But it can be ScreamFree.
It is easy to lose our cool during the transition back to school, especially considering that it is roughly the temperature of molten lava outside. If you are interested in your child (and you!) having a cool year of school, it’s time to change your thinking a bit. Here are three points about this particular year’s Back-to-School transition that all parents should consider in order to remain ScreamFree:
1. No one has done this particular transition before.
Sure, you’ve done the back-to-school thing, but each kid and each parent is now a year older, most likely entering a new grade, and largely unaware of what the next year brings. All of that means we parents should take the emotional lead by approaching this time with honest humility and questions, rather than arrogant answers and assumptions. Having a curious attitude about what this year will hold is so much better than jumping to conclusions and ignoring the concerns of your child. What does this look like? Maybe it means actually asking (and then listening to) what your kids are saying about something like school supply needs. Just last night, my daughter and I almost went head to head over this very issue. Thankfully, I was thinking about this article and somehow found a way to pause.
3. It’s the little changes that prepare us for the biggest ones.
When a transition is clear and unavoidable, there is no excuse for a lack of preparation. One of the biggest mistakes I see parents make in preparing for the school year is the last-minute summer vacation, with the whole family arriving home the day or two before school starts. This is an automatic recipe for a very difficult first week of school. Back-to-school is a transition that’s been on the calendar for months, and we all know that even with the best preparation around bedtime and sleep schedules, there are going to be some exhausted kids those first two weeks or so. By all means, use the week prior to ease everyone, including yourself, back into a school-friendly routine. Start cutting back on bedtimes 15 minutes each night until it’s back to usual. Start waking kids up 15 minutes earlier each day, ushering them into a shower and a change of clothes. You can even work with your kids by going online or calling the school to find out when lunch is scheduled for each kid, and begin getting their bodies ready for that meal schedule. Sure, these are little changes, but as in most areas of life, it’s the little changes that prepare us for the bigger ones.
Transitions like going back to school can be difficult, that’s for sure. But they can also be incredible growth opportunities. It all depends on how you look at things. If you’re willing to become more coachable than correct, more optimistic than overbearing, and more intentional than intense these last few days before school actually starts, you and your child are off to one “great year” no matter what lies ahead