You might be seeing some of those today! Things like not wanting to eat breakfast, oversleeping, refusing to go to bed, etc… These behaviors invite us as parents to keep our boundaries firm, compassion active, and to stay connected to the warmth we feel towards our kids in more relaxed times, like in summer.
Although these behaviors are challenging, especially at a time when we ourselves are scrambling to adjust, it’s helpful to see them as symptoms of anxiety, not bad behavior. There are some simple tools we can use to soothe concerns and reconnect as a family in the new structure of the school year.
Some ideas you might try incorporating to reduce anxiety and ease into a smooth Fall schedule are:
- Nightly quiet connection times (shared reading, shared quiet time, shared mandala coloring)
- Scheduled Special Time: 15-30 minutes of timed connection where your child is in charge a few times weekly (choosing games to play, activities to engage with)
- Reading and talking about feelings: Print or purchase an emotion chart like this one and have everyone choose three big feelings they had that day, do a brief puppet play about it
- Family meetings that occur at the same time each week--consistent and repetitive connection time that the whole family can depend on to be a place to express what is going well and what is challenging that week
- During times of uneasy connection (refusing to eat breakfast), offer choice, but limited choice. Creating a space where your child can have some control about what is eaten will support their need for expression and control. Limiting the choices to what you are willing to make will support you in maintaining firm boundaries for your child.
Managing the back to school transition can be an opportunity to create your diet of connection and ease with your family to last you through the year.
If you are ready for more tools to help keep your family connected and soothed this school year, sign up for one of these Social Skills or Parenting Groups in San Francisco or Berkeley. Individual and Family Play therapy are available as well.
Schedule a 15-minute phone consult now:
Karen Wolfe, MFT Karen@SFBayPlayTherapy.com 415-420-9459
Nancy Wallin, MFT Nancywallinmft@gmail.com 530-902-1154