Happiest school year!

The time has come to say lehitra’ot to the nostalgic smell of sunscreen and the floors littered with damp swimsuits and brightly colored beach towels. As a parent of four little girls ages 10 months to 10 years, I ache for the comfort of structure and routine as the heavy August evenings crawl to a close.

But with this wind down comes a palpable wind up. We see excitement and anxiety mingle and rise up in our littles as they consider the possibilities and potential trials of the approaching school year.

Who will I sit near? What if I don’t hit it off with my teacher? What will I do if the work is too hard? How will I control my little body and my big voice all day long?

These are big feelings for young children; feelings that can sway negative quickly if we, as parents, fail to frame the narrative with positivity and patience at the forefront.

Fortunately, there are some approachable best practices we can put into place to support our little ones in this transitional time:

Lead with gratitude – model and practice reflection and gratitude with your child each night. Sharing the day’s cherries (celebrations) and pits (disappointments) works best for my family, but don’t be afraid to get creative! The key is to share more positives than negatives.

Consider what you can “ask” over what you can “tell.” For example, replace, “You should pack your backpack the night before school, so that you don’t forget something,” with, “How can you prepare for a strong start to your day, tomorrow?” Letting your child do the cognitive lifting helps them develop self-concept and confidence!

Say less, listen more. Instead of guiding your child through the back-to-school process, encourage them to “think aloud.” You can facilitate this by modeling it yourself and asking guiding questions. The “say less, listen more” concept also applies to supporting your child as they vent frustrations and work through hard feelings from the school day. While it can be difficult to hear your child upset, do you best to listen actively while maintaining a neutral presence. Children are highly sensitive and often match our energy, for better or for worse.

Recognize the value in letting your children experience minor frustrations, age-appropriate conflicts, and small failures while the risks are low. When a child forgets to pack their planner or jacket for recess, they may be uncomfortable, but the overall risks are low. It is likely that your kiddo will remember to pack those items in the future if forgetting causes mild discomfort. While “saving” our children from discomfort is in our DNA, it often sends a message that we don’t trust them to do things independently.

Best wishes for a calm and positive start to the year! We look forward to your partnership in nurturing these little souls.

HaMorah Myers

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.