Back-to-School is a difficult transition, especially for the kids.
I think it's easier for parents because they get their routine back. I've noticed my teenage girls (16 and 17) were very resistant to going back this year. It feels like a loss of freedom, a loss of the lazy days to sleep in late in the morning, a loss of staying up late, hanging out with friends, watching movies and eating popcorn, a loss of carefree time to swim, suntan, and a loss of the delicious luxury of a simple schedule. Our kids want to grow up so fast and be an adult. I know I did.
Sure, there are wonderful things about being grown up, but with it comes a lot of responsibility. As adults, we have to juggle the schedule. There is nothing more stressful than a schedule in transition, when it involves "losing" time and tightening the schedule. My schedule feels like it's in transition. It feels too restrictive, like I'm a slave to it, serving it, instead of the other way around. So I plan to scale back on doing yoga 3X weekly and do P90X at home instead, saving me the commute. I may ease up on my requirement to meditate daily for one hour. Too much of anything is still too much, even meditation, if it causes me to feel stifled. I can time block things that are important to me and then stick to it. This just means I set aside time and don't book other things.
Often the hardest part is getting something on the calendar AND then not letting others' agendas cause me to take it off. According to Lisa Hammond and BJ Gallagher, the "Golden Rule for Women" should be this: "We need to do unto ourselves as we do unto others." It's real easy as women to put everyone else first and forget we have needs to. The same goes for our children who have a myriad of demands placed upon them, especially once in high school. They get so much advice about needing to be involved in extracurricular activities, getting good grades in their classes, excelling on the ACT exam, all to get into the college of their choice and get as much financial aid as possible.
Lots of performance pressure and pressure to people please. It's no wonder they get ADD. So what can we do as parents to help minimize their stress and make it an easy back-to-school transition? Talk to them. Let them know it's normal to feel a little anxious and sad about returning to school (it that is the case). Let them know to NOT resist these feelings but to honor them by getting extra rest, relaxing when they feel like it and within reason, eating healthy, and exercising, basically a good self-care routine. Remind them to take it one day at a time and ease back in to school life.
They don't have to figure everything out today. You might suggest they begin to keep a gratitude journal (after you do too :)) in which they write down 5 things daily they are grateful for. Get them focusing on what they do right and what is going right in their life. It is amazing the shift this can create. Lastly, discourage perfectionism. Let them know that perfect is the enemy of done. Sure, they need to put forth their best effort, and most important of all, they need to take a healthy attitude with them to school. Learn in a way that really makes sense to them without simply memorizing, make friends, have an attitude of service, and have FUN!
In no time at all, the Back-to-School Blues will melt away, and your child will be back in the swing of things. Be patient with yourself and your kids during this time.
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