Is your child excited about the upcoming school year, are they a bundle of nerves, or are they dreading going back to school? If you have a child entering a new stage at school or a first-time college-bound teen they are likely experiencing a mix of all three! Your child could be excited to see friends, but nervous about a new teacher, new sport or activities, or having schoolwork and homework again.
As parents, we instinctively want to reassure our kids that they’re going to be fine and that there’s nothing to worry about, but if you’ve been reading my blogs over the past few weeks you know that this can actually heighten their nervousness.
When we accept and affirm that it’s normal to be nervous, our kids are more likely to remain open to talking to us — and we want to keep them open so we can introduce some intentional thoughts and plant thought seeds for a successful school year.
I saw the long term benefits of this when my daughter was in elementary school and was consistently placed in classes without any of her close friends. As school would approach, I would talk to her about how it was normal and understandable that she was disappointed at not being in the same class with her friends. Then we brainstormed ideas and plans for what she could do to stay close to them.
I also talked to her about what she could do to get to know the new kids in her class, and pointed out how good she was at making new friends and how easy it was for her. I wanted her to think intentional thoughts, so she could help herself and make it easier.
I knew that how she thought about the situation would affect how easy or hard it was, and worked to intentionally plant thought-seeds to set her up for success.
Kids' brains are very literal. When they think something is going to be hard, their brain stops looking for solutions which makes it harder for them. When our kids think I can’t handle this, I don’t know what to do, or This is so hard, their brains will work to prove those thoughts true.
But when we plant intentional thought-seeds of I can handle this, I can figure this out, and This can be easy, kids start thinking it might be easy, and their brain works to find solutions which then makes things easier for them.
I invite you to consider what intentional thought-seeds you can plant to help set your kids up for a successful new year. Remember, the key will be to accept what they are feeling and experiencing first so they stay open, and then plant a new intentional thought.
If you want to add more tools to your parenting toolbox and learn how to support your child through change and going back to school, I can help! This month in the Confident Parenting Club we are doing a deep dive into how to support and prepare kids (and yourself) for upcoming changes and going back to school! Click here to check out the Club, and use coupon code CHANGE to get over 25% off when you join.
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