• Give it six weeks

  • Many parents look forward to the routine which the start of the school year promises, especially those parents who have had to juggle weeks of challenging child care and bored children. The thing is that for many families, especially children, the first days of school require quite a bit of adjustment. My rule of thumb: give it up to six weeks.

  • We Have Different Temperaments

  • Of course, some children and families need less adjustment, but this is often a temperamental issue, and some of us simply need more time to transition while others skip from one new situation to the next with a smile and positive attitude. Celebrate differences!! There can also be other factors such as a new place or school which contribute to longer transitions.

  • School Demands Great Effort for Children

  • Children must concentrate very hard to adapt to a different environment every school year. The teacher, some classmates, rules, structures, amount and degree of homework, and so on require some adjustment for your child. Imagine if you started a new job every year. For some types of children, specifically more kinesthetic learners, school is particularly strenuous. All that sitting and not talking and rules and too little play time, etc.

  • More Snuggle Time

  • And then there is the child who was quite looking forward to starting school and comes home seeming sad, insecure and discouraged. Listen to their feelings and especially between the lines of what they are saying. Simply acknowledge what you hear. Parents are often busy themselves around the start of the school year, so without putting too much pressure on yourself, try to make some snuggle and listening time – yes, even with teens (unless they are 13, in which case, do your best). Special time does not have to be long; 10 minutes could suffice. Take younger ones on to your lap or into your arms.

  • Listen

  • Read. Listen. Acknowledge. Name Feelings. Empathize. You may want to brainstorm with your child on possible solutions to problems she or he has encountered and then trust him or her to find the best one.

  • When to Call the Teacher

  • If after a few weeks your child continues to feel sad and discouraged, do not hesitate to phone the teacher who is glad for your support in looking for the best solution. You know your child best and a teacher loves supportive, constructive, solution-oriented parents as partners.

Book Tip:

Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka on temperament Helps us understand the innate traits which we can learn to live with well if we get to know them and take responsibility for getting our own needs met and teaching our children to do the same.