Back to School: Safe Place to Land

Back to school season is upon us. Some children are already back to school and some are preparing for this adventure to begin! This can be a huge adjustment for our precious little ones. Often our little ones do not have the words to express their worries, questions, fears or excitement. This is where the safe place to let things out comes in.

How can you help if they do not tell you what they need?

Let’s put this in perspective. You have just started a new job. Imagine all the emotions you go through. It is hard for you to pinpoint what exactly is causing you angst but you can at least state “I am nervous”. Then you start to verbally unload on a friend or family member. After that conversation, you feel so much better.

Children are famous for acting out their feelings as opposed to talking. The first weeks back to school, I would recommend that you are prepared for many different emotional outbursts to happen. Know that these emotional responses are your child’s way of dealing with the changes. They have absolutely nothing to do with you!

Your child may seem absolutely fine when they get home, then all of a sudden he is freaking out because his sister touched him or the couch is not comfortable or ……(you get the point). Just know that this is to be expected. Being the safe place for your child to unload emotionally will benefit him in the long run.

Does this mean that you can’t explain that the outbursts are not acceptable??

No. It means that you can help your child learn that he is reacting to things instead of dealing with his emotions from the day. It is the whole concept of being “proactive instead of reactive”.

One of the most helpful things that I have found is to ask the question “I am wondering if…”. I will often state “I am wondering if you are tired or hungry”. Also, labeling what you see is important. “Man I am noticing that when you get home from school you get angry”.

How can you help your child cope with all this emotion?
  1. If your child is on that loves hugs, meet him with open arms!
  2. Have a snack prepared so your child does not get “hangry”.
  3. Plan a low-key evening.
  4. Put your phone or other electronics away and give your child your attention.
  5. Engage in some fun play or roughhousing. Laughter can be just as therapeutic as crying.
  6. Let your child guide his play with you for about 10 to 15 minutes. Child Directed play rocks!

 

Enjoy the next few weeks with your child as he becomes the student he wants to be. I encourage you to be your child’s safe place to land at the end of the day! Slowly over time, you will see a major reduction in your child’s emotional reactions. This will be your cue that he is beginning to adjust to the new grade. If the behaviour does not change then I would recommend reaching out for additional supports.

Back to School Sleep Tip

It is that time of the year where our little ones are preparing to go to school or go back to school. The first thing I get a number of questions about is how to get your child prepared to get the amount of sleep he needs each night.

When summer hits we often fall off our routines. This is pretty common and honestly, it is to be expected. If you child is going to bed later and waking up later than he needs for school you can help him get back on track.

Where do you start?

The first thing that I recommend that you do is to figure out what time your child needs to be going to bed to get the recommended amount of sleep that he needs.

Here is a link that can help you figure out how much sleep your child needs Recommended Hours of Sleep. Keep in mind your child may need more or less sleep than a child that is the same age as your child. So trust your gut instincts on the exact amount of sleep that is best for your child.

Keep in mind your child may need more or less sleep than a child that is the same age as your child. So trust your gut instincts on the exact amount of sleep that is best for your child.

Now What?

Now you know how much time your child should be sleeping so the next thing to look at is what time does your child have to be awake to get where they need to be in a timely fashion without you having to rush them out the door (stay tuned for a post about how to get them out the door with your patience and hair intact).

Let us say for example you need to be out the door by 8:00 am so you decide that 7:00 am is a good time for your child to get up.

Currently, your child is getting up around 9:00 am. There are 2 ways you can approach this change:

Cold Turkey:

The weekend before school you can just cold turkey wake your child up at 7:00 am and start your day. I do recommend giving him a few days to adjust before going to school which is why I recommend starting on the weekend. Then have bedtime at the time you figure he needs to be able to get proper rest.

Gradually:

Right about now you can start waking your child up 15 minutes before he usually wakes up. Bedtime will be 15 minutes before he usually goes to sleep. Then every 3 to 4 days, change wake-up and bedtime by 15 minutes. Continue this approach until you reach the desired times.

Be prepared for some protest from your child. Reminding your child that you are doing this to help him get ready for school can have a positive effect on the push back you may receive.

Have fun preparing for back to school!

If you have additional questions feel free to ask me all the questions that you have in the Preschool/School Aged Group or Forum Area for members. Not a member become a member today!