With the new school year quickly approaching, we have to shift our summer vibes to school year vibes. The long nights, busy days, waking up late all comes to an end. With a new school year, new grade level, and for some starting at new schools, there are many worries, fears, and uncertainties that start to creep up. Not just for students, but for parents, too. With the end of summer it is hard enough to switch our thinking to school mode. Back to routines, expectations daily, no carefree running around but waking up early, completing deadlines, having to be more accountable daily.
Many children are naturally anxious about a new school year but imagine the anxiety a student has that is starting off at a brand new school? For some students, they have been to the same school year after year, but there are others, like mine, who have attended FOUR different schools in seven years. Think about it. Every other year we have moved for one reason or another, so having the luxury of growing up with the same group of kids and returning to school knowing pretty much everyone is not something my children know.
Starting over, starting fresh at a brand new school where you literally do not know anyone is challenging in many ways, for both the child but also the parents. Our worries are the same but yet different
Naturally we worry about the friends situation, will they eat alone at lunch, will they be accepted by their peers, will the teachers recognize the strengths that I know my son and daughter have, will my daughter receive her accommodations that she is entitled to? Does the staff know that my children have parents who are invested in their education and demand the best for them? Do they know my children are my life and I will do whatever it takes? Will my child struggle daily and it go unseen and untold? The list can go on.
For us as parents, it is all about our approach we take when talking with our children about big and little things. Approach and attitude are everything. Our approach is to be positive and hopeful. My children have no problem being the “new kid;” it’s is all they know. They make friends everywhere. So in the beginning it might be a little scary and sadly, they might feel a little lonely but that never lasts long. Talk about the big and little emotions. Have an open heart and listen. This will help them sort out their feelings. Be logical. Do not respond and run on pure emotion. Trust me, that does not work. (I have learned this the hard way!)
Make it good for them, build them up, calm their worries, and reassure them. You want to make it a positive experience and a happy time for them so they can thrive this upcoming school year and not just survive it. This is an opportunity to experience new things, new people, new environment, new beginnings. This is a time for personal growth. After all, most things are what we make of it.
Children are resilient, they truly are. They have the ability to do and overcome way more than what we know. The ability to overcome and find the good and make it good, if only we will let them and teach them how to do so. Change and “starting over” is never easy, but it is through change that we learn, grow, and find strengths we never knew or maybe we had forgot. Remind your children of this. This is our job.
Try not to focus on all the what if’s and all the irrational and rational fears. Have faith and hope and know everything will be okay. Sometimes us parents need that reminder even more so. As I have gone back and forth in my mind thinking of all the what if things for this new school year, I have to remind myself of the facts. Not the emotional part of it. I think there is something really cool about starting over, starting fresh, having new beginnings. Share that excitement with them. Then they, too, will become excited. We as the parents need to demonstrate that first. Make it your daily mantra and eventually you will start believing it, too.