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  • Autumn Quiles, LCSW

Back To School

It's back to school time. Parents and teachers and students know what this means- all of it's implications. This year looks a bit more "normal" than the 2020 pandemic year and that is comforting for some, terrifying for others.

The most fabulous part of beginning a new school year is the hope that it holds- for students, parents and teachers. Each child, family and teacher has an opportunity to redefine themselves. A fresh start, to Be who they are Now. To turn over a new leaf. Or to broaden and refine the person they are becoming.

The beginning of the school year is full of promise... provided you choose to define it that way.

There will likely be bumps along the road. Many of the kids I work with have trouble making and keeping friends. In the past, their grades have not reflected their potential. Their families have high expectations- expectations that the kids often cannot meet. Anxiety and loneliness can build- for kids and their grown-ups.

However, there are things the grown-ups can do, to help our children ride out these bumps and settle into an easy rise into success at school.

  1. Breathe. Stay Calm. Know that This Too Shall Pass. The chaos of school routines and new-ness is only temporary, but in-the-moment it feels bigger and longer and more. As the grown-up, you understand that change is constant. When you, or your child, is faced with a difficult situation, staying calm (by breathing) is possibly your most valuable gift. You can share your calm with your kiddo and, together, problem-solving becomes much, much easier.

  2. Nourish Open Dialogue. Take the time to ask, and show interest in, what's happening in your kid's life. Ask questions that require more than a "yes" or "no" answer. "Did you get your math turned in?" is very different from, "Tell me... how did math class go?" If your child is not feeling chatty, respect that limit; instead, share tidbits of your own day. Consistently return to opening that dialogue daily; loving persistence and acceptance, not power, will show them how much you love them. Kids who feel loved and accepted are more likely to spontaneously share themselves with you.

  3. Show interest in, and help them, get organized for the year. Many kids have difficulty organizing themselves and prioritizing tasks- this is a learned skill. Finding a morning routine that works for them, logging into online classes, managing after-school expectations are all organizational skills that may be overwhelming. But, once established, they provide a child with the framework necessary to be successful. Taking the time to collaboratively set up systems now will give you a solid foundation for the upcoming year. If you have a kiddo who comes to organization easily, take a minute to marvel at the systems she has created.

  4. Inspire and Encourage. Our world can be a discouraging place, especially when we are wading through new experiences and expectations. No one will be writing in the sky, "I believe in you! I can see you shining from here!"- to your child... or to you. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are a fabulous parent who wants to be better. I believe in you. I can see you shining from here. And chances are, you have a fabulous child who wants to be better. Believe in her. See her shining, from where you stand. Inspiration and encouragement, despite being infinitely more powerful, is surprisingly easier to spread than worry and discouragement.

Lastly, if you are heading into the school year without any of these things... You have lost your calm- or your child can't find his calm... There is no dialogue or the dialogue is contentious... Your child is disorganized and you are too- with no relief in sight... and you can find little strength for inspiring or encouraging... please call me. I am good at helping families find their way back to the relationships they really want.

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