Help Your Child with Transitions and Back To School

back to school co-parenting parenting parenting help Aug 22, 2023
Transitions and Back to School

Does your child struggle with transitions?

We’re heading Back To School, so it’s time to talk about transitions again! But kids struggle with transition all year: leaving a playdate, moving from one parent’s house to another, easing from daytime to bedtime…Sometimes a kid’s day is just one transition after another, and that is hard! 

Here are a few reminders (with italicized examples!) to help with transitions. Use them to smooth your BTS experience this year:

  • Transitions are exhausting! Do your best to schedule NOTHING EXTRA for the first week or two of school or whenever you know a big transition is happening. If you can, give yourselves time after getting home to connect, move or rest (without screens at first is best). I have a client who sits with her kids on the couch when they get home, doing nothing more than holding hands and snuggling for about 10 minutes. It works wonders!
  • Transitions compromise us. The weight of coping with transitions can make it hard to show up at our best. Don’t be surprised if your kiddo struggles with behavior either at home or at school. Stick with your regular boundaries and rules, making extra sure you’re delivering everything with empathy and patience. “It makes perfect sense that you don’t want to leave the playground when you’re having fun. And when we throw sand at Mommy, we need to take space from each other.”
  • Transitions are temporary (by definition, right?) Most of the nonsense and chaos you experience in the first week or two of school is not forever. Take it with a grain of salt - chances are, it will settle down. And whatever is still cropping up a few weeks from now is what truly merits your attention and care. Every year, kindergarten thru 4th grade, I would get a note home in early September commenting on my eldest son’s behavior. I would mention it briefly and compassionately to him, but otherwise, take a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Invariably, that was the only note I’d receive all year. Had I added intensity to his already-overwhelmed state, his transition would have been longer and more tumultuous, I am sure.
  • Transitions are for everyone. YOU are transitioning too. Before you tackle any perceived ‘problems’ with your child or the school, check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Remember to give yourself the same compassion and patience your child needs. One of my clients makes herself wait until the next morning to respond to messages from the school. She needs that time to calm herself and respond well. Since setting this rule for herself, she has developed a strong partnership with the school that supports her son so much better than before.

And if you know you want help with school challenges beyond these tips, please reach out. It’s my job to help you navigate parenthood with connection and leadership - set up a free Discovery Call. Share your struggles, experience the empathy of a coaching session, and hear feedback that will help you make this the best school year ever!

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