It is hard to believe that we are getting ready to go back to school already. It seems that summer break used to last longer when I was a child. You too? I think time has sped up and/or the school year has gotten longer. In any case, in order to get the most out of what is left of this summer break, and to start the fall season refreshed and ready to go, here are three tips:
Tip #1 — Completion of Summer
Take a few minutes with your family to review the events, activities and adventures you wanted to do over the summer. Were all of the family goals accomplished? If so, great! If not, which items can you still fit in before heading back to school? If there are some items that need to be pushed out, be sure to put them on your calendar on a specific date in the future. Are there incomplete items for any family member? Take a look at those. Is there anything new that would top off the summer just perfectly? Is it doable? The ultimate goal is to work as a team, get to know and understand each other, and learn how to plan and create together. Along those lines, talk about what you learned about each other over the summer. What do you understand about your children now that you did not understand in June? What did your children learn about you? It is an interesting conversation to have.
Tip #2 — Transition and Change
Do you have young children starting daycare, preschool, or elementary school for the first time? Or, does your child’s “back to school” mean changing schools? Have you moved? If so, be sensitive to how your children might feel about these changes. Are they nervous? Excited? Talk about it. Be sure to validate their feelings. This is not a conversation about needing to fix it, telling them they do not need to be scared, or shrugging your shoulders and saying, “There’s nothing I can do about that.” It is a time for compassion and heart. Listen. Understand. Validate. Did you have any of those same feelings as a child? Share.
Tip #3 — Avoiding Overwhelm
It is an interesting phenomenon when summer ends. Not only are our children going back to school and getting homework assignments, but they are also getting back into extracurricular activities such as sports, tutoring, dance, music, etc. Avoid over-booking them. There are two reasons for this. First, it can be overwhelming and stressful. If every minute of every day is spoken for, our children never get a chance to relax. Then every school project, game and event becomes stressful, instead of fun and enjoyable. Second, why model busy-ness for our children? Why set them up to live a life of never ending to-do lists? It is our job to teach them balance. Balance comes from some “in time,” and some “out time.” Each child is different in their personal tolerance and desire for in/out time. Be sensitive to each of your children. There is no sense in stressing everyone out.
If you are a firm believer in keeping your children busy so they won’t get into trouble, here is some food for thought. It is not busy-ness that keeps children out of trouble. It is your time, guidance and heart. Parenting is about creating relationships and providing life skills. What skills are you teaching your children? What skills do you want to be teaching your children?
Taking the time to complete summer, prepare for transitions, and plan for balance as you go back to school will help tremendously as your family steps into yet another “season” of life. If you would like some assistance with these or other parenting related topics, contact me to schedule a FREE 15-minute phone consultation. I can be reached at 951-240-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s amazing what can be accomplished in just 15 minutes! Make it an amazing back to school season!