The 5 GOLDEN RULES for parents worried about their children starting school.
This blog provides practical help on how to successfully navigate big changes with small people…
Life is full of transitions. Starting nursery, starting school, new school year, new school, new home… the list is endless. How much attention do we give to these changes? If you’re anything like me, my attention seems to be mostly directed to worrying about the impending change. This worry is clearly wasted energy for it changes nothing at all. Having recently begun some work on supporting young people with life transitions I am hoping I can share a few top tips on how to worry less and prepare and support more…
1. Talk about change but not too much!
So, let’s say your child is starting preschool. There is a fine balance between acknowledging this transition is happening and going on about it so much that it dominates every waking thought. Drop it into conversation in a positive way, pop it on a calendar and count down the sleeps and perhaps drive/walk by the location every now and again. The line is, “it’s exciting and it’s happening!”
2. Avoid negative chat
‘You won’t be able to do that at pre-school’ is such a natural line to take when your little one is being a bit of a pickle. However, be aware that this is a very unhelpful picture to build of an unknown setting and will grow anxiety rather than good behaviour.
3. Objects as support
You might remember (I know I do) having a new pencil case or new shoes for September. This made the big event exciting and made it feel special. Also, the fact that these items were carried with me from home to the new environment gave me reassurance.
Buy a new bag, new shoes, uniform (lots in charity shops and Facebook Marketplace). Have these objects lying around, label them and practice using them. The amount of extra comfort these items will give in the early days is amazing.
4. Not a time to be Sherlock Holmes!
So, it’s early days in a transition and as a loving parent you want to know everything about what has been going on. Who did you play with, what did you eat, did you do a poo? I was terrible for giving my kids the third degree. The thing is you need to ask yourself, ‘Who is this for?’ The truth is, it doesn’t benefit your child at all.
To tame myself we developed the thumbs system. ‘Thumbs for today’ would consist of my children indicating with a thumb ranging from thumb down and rotating anywhere in-between to thumbs up for a really good day. Then I could ask, ‘What was good about it? or ‘Ah, why was it a thumbs down day?’ Great system, lead by them and still you get the ‘need to know’ info!
5. Patience is also a form of action!
Transition isn’t a day it’s a process. Change in a young person’s world has a big impact and we need to be patient as they adapt. Keep talking to other adults supporting your child and remain positive and calm.
Remember that as they adjust to change and experience transition, they are developing vital life skills. As adults we need to be adaptable and able to navigate change; this process is actually helping them to be better equipped!
So, lets embrace transitions, know it’s a journey and calmly look at impending changes with confidence and positivity!
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