Well, Mom and Dad, time to take (another) deep breath. Just when you thought you had figured out how to navigate your life and family through this treacherous time, school is starting. In “normal” times the adjustment from summer to school can be daunting. This year may feel like climbing Mt. Everest with an empty oxygen tank. To help you through this process, keep the following thoughts in mind:
- Put on your own oxygen mask first: your self-care needs to be first before you can help those around you. If you go down, so does the crew. Get enough sleep, some fresh air, and exercise, eat balanced regular meals, including at least one pleasurable activity per day, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
- Take an inventory of what has worked for your family during the past 5 months. What activities have promoted peace, resiliency, and fun? Incorporate some of these things into the school year.
- Be mindful of the moments. Keep your thoughts on today and what is set before you, even while planning future events. Scheduling helps eliminate panic and stress.
- Keep news/media to a minimum for your sanity and for the sake of the kids. Do what’s necessary to stay safe.
- Get everyone back on a regular sleep schedule, well before the first day of school, even if your kids are going to be doing online school from home.
- Expect an adjustment period as everyone begins yet another time of change and challenge. Lighten the expectations for everyone. Keep a sense of humor. This too shall pass.
- Validate your kids’ experiences. Validate your own. Be liberal with high fives and praise, even with small successes.
- Enjoy the moments of your life. Your children will never be these ages again. Enjoy them.
- The weekends need to be different from the week, even if you are still all at home. Plan one family activity that is purely for fun. Plan something fun for yourself, as well.
- Be aware of any signs of depression (irritability, tearfulness, loss of interest in activities) or higher than typical anxiety (worries, panic attacks) in anyone in the family. Seek professional help. Early Intervention is always the key to turning situations around more quickly.
Contact Family Psychology Associates today for more information about our online counseling services and schedule an appointment today.
Dr. Kathie Blake