The time has arrived: the kids are going back to school. Whether your child is crossing the bridge into a new year or you’re sending your kiddo for the first time, there are so many emotions involved in this transition—for both the child(ren) making the big change and for the parents sending the child(ren) on their way.
Take the time to notice these feelings and bring intention to them. Sometimes sadness and perhaps guilt can come out in different ways, or even the feeling of relief. Is there part of you that is relieved to not have to juggle childcare or camps or both? Maybe you’re rejoicing. Everyone experiences this transition differently. There is no right or wrong way.
But getting back into the groove of the school year can be tricky. After all, it’s time to wake those kiddos up early again and get them off to school. With all this change occurring, have you considered maintaining a familiar routine? Children handle changes best when they occur within the context of a predictable shtick, offering a sense of safety. Maybe it’s time to consider this option. Of course, it’s okay to break the rules on occasion but structure will give your child(ren) a leg up when adapting to new environments.
Is there a way to avoid the meltdowns? Sometimes it’s impossible; but involving your child(ren) in decisions may save you from those dreaded moments. Perhaps prepare the night before by pulling out clothes together – and preparing their favorite breakfast in the morning. Will going off to school be easier if it occurs after eating their favorite combination of yogurt, granola, and berries?
After the year and a half we have experienced being immersed in this global pandemic, if we know anything, we know our children need the social and growth-geared environment a school provides. But of course, with any new change comes with its challenges. This year, the question of masking in school is a hot topic. This question is only for you as a family to answer, but we all must face the idea of peers questioning our child(ren) about their masking choice. Take the time now to encourage your child to say, “Our family decided it is best for us to mask” or “Our family decided we are not going to mask at this time.”
17 months into this pandemic, we know we have new challenges to face, but our new challenges can sometimes dull the recurring ones. Ultimately, recognizing our feelings in the moment and prepping ahead will help us ease this big transition and start this year off on the right foot.
P.S. If you are seeing a need for soft skills or social-emotional growth in your child(ren), please contact us. JFS Orlando has just partnered with Social Bridges®, which aims to equip all children, teenagers, and young adults with the emotional intelligence, social competencies, and lifelong interpersonal skills to succeed.
Looking for more tips and guidance? JFS Orlando’s counselors are specialized in various areas and are here to support you. Telehealth counseling appointments now available! Medicare, Medicaid, and almost all insurances are accepted. Sliding scale available for those who do not have insurance or have an insurance we do not accept. Call 407-644-7671 or complete our online form to request an appointment today!
Shaina White Williams, MSW is a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern and earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Shaina utilizes a combination of evidence-based therapies including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Problem Solving Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Therapy while highlighting strengths-based solutions.
Shaina strives to support her clients’ needs through individualized care while assisting them in overcoming obstacles, including acceptance, anxiety, depression, grief, trauma and more. Shaina aims to aid her clients in thriving by setting therapeutic goals, and ultimately increasing resiliency. She also hopes to help her clients achieve a sense of wellbeing by providing psychoeducation and incorporating mindfulness techniques, self-care, and wellness tools. Shaina views therapy as a collaborative effort with her clients. She consistently demonstrates compassion, empathy, insight, cultural competence, and active listening.