Back to School: 3 Ways to Ease Transitions
Kiddos will soon be starting school this year with options. Whether it is in person with safety precautions in place, doing a hybrid model of in-person and remote or doing distance learning, transitions can be tough and can create anxieties surrounding the change. Here are some tips to help manage your family's stressors and ease those transitions back to school.
1. Stick To Routines
Having morning, after school and evening routines are key! With a morning routine in place, after a couple weeks of consistency, children know what to expect and will start doing things without as much support from caregivers. After school routines can vary depending on the day of the week and any after school activities your kiddos may have. However, if you can have a list of just a few things they do when they first walk in the door after school, you can create habits that will help transitions run smoothly. A nighttime routine is perhaps the most important of all the routines! With a good nighttime routine in place, children will have an easier time falling asleep, mornings will run smoother, and you’ll have more time for fun with the family. The reality is routines don’t always go as planned, but having them in place creates better opportunities to run smoother and help with transitions.
2. Create I Love You Rituals
I love you rituals are such a powerful tool during times of transition. Changing routines from morning to night or from home to school can make children feel anxious. These rituals help provide structure and ease for what is to come next. I love you rituals are a tool for building and strengthening attachment, trust and security within your family. Examples: a handshake, a song, a dance, three hugs, two winks, one kiss, and a “I love you”.
3. Provide Opportunities of Control
When it comes to transitions and heading back to school, there are a ton of things that children have no control over. This can create anxiety, fear, and children can experience big emotions during these times. By giving them some decision-making opportunities, you are building their confidence and feelings of being in control. Examples: Choosing their breakfasts/lunches first week, will they bike, walk, or drive the first day? Pick out their first day outfit, shoes, etc. Find as many opportunities as you can for them to weigh in!
Remember, transitions take time. It may take a few weeks for your kiddo to feel comfortable at school. A new routine, homework expectations, pandemic safety procedures, and the stress of social situations can all cause kiddos to not be their most cheerful self. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself, be patient, and create a space for conversation. For more help establishing routines and rituals or to make an appointment, contact Clinical Counseling Associates of Kansas City.
What routines or rituals do you have in place for your family?
By: Victoria Weddle
LPC, LCPC, RPT