By now, children all over Canada are back to school and the weather has been glorious.
But very soon the weather will change (sorry, but it’s inevitable!) and as a family, you need to be ready to take on the colder seasons ahead. In last year’s post, I wrote about making the transition easy as far as getting your stuff ready. Be sure to read about that to help you out last year’s post, I wrote about making the transition easy as far as getting your stuff ready. Be sure to read about that to help you out.
This year, I want to address the emotional state of a seasonal switch. Aside from having to honker down and get to homework and a steady routine, just starting a new school year can be a difficult and stress-filled time for little ones. Particularly if this is the very first year of school.
As parents, we love to imagine our children going to school and having the very best times. We wish for happy days leading up to that first day of school and great experiences during their days there. And while that will most likely be true, the transition can still be difficult, even leading into later fall months.
Here are three ways to help your child with their feelings this fall:
- Up until now, your little one has been enjoying parks and backyards with you for the better part of the day. Transitioning to a school schedule might have them outside for less than half of that time. To help them maintain that vitamin D and the disposition that only sunshine can bring, try to have outdoor play after school. Bringing snacks to a close-by park is a great way to let of steam from the school day and get some fresh air before heading home.
- Take the opportunity to strike up conversations. Listen for clues from your child about how they are feeling. Given the right amount of time and some key questions, your child will let you know how things are going at school and if they are handling it ok. Some questions we like to ask are “tell me one good thing that happened at school today” and “tell me one bad thing that happened today”. It’s an easy way for your child to think back and share.
- Encouraging a routine even outside of the school hours will help your child enjoy the downtime as well. For very little ones, that might mean having a nap after preschool, for older children that could mean a good hour of play before homework. Setting times for an early dinner and wash up will lend itself to an easier nighttime ritual and hopefully, an easier time getting to sleep. All these steps will help your child feel comforted with a schedule he or she is familiar with.
These are some ways to help your child feel comfortable with back-to-school fall changes. Of course, if you notice a bigger problem (i.e. not eating or sleeping well, irritable behavior on a constant basis) dig deeper and ask for help. Your child’s teacher is a great resource for the times you are no with him or her.
Here’s hoping the cold days ahead bring you and your child nothing but comfort and warm hugs!
Julia Chiarella-Genoni <3