We know this school year is going to look really different for our kids. There will be growth and there will be challenges. We will uncover new ways of being together and learning together.
And with all of this may also come a roller coaster of emotions for both your kids and you. Give yourself and your kids permission to feel whatever comes up. This is a great time to remind ourselves of our resilience when we are on the down part of the roller coaster. Think about times in the past where you have overcome hard situations or life challenges. What was helpful for you then? How did you make it through? How did it feel when it was over and you were on the other side. Remind yourself of your strength and do something that helps to feel uplifted. You can do the same with your kids when they are feeling down.
Here are some helpful hints to start the school year off strong:
1. Adjust your expectations to allow you to be flexible and don’t compare it to traditional school and years before. This year is different, kids’ social and emotional needs are different, and learning will be different. It will relieve some pressure if you can embrace that from the beginning.
2. Get involved with how your child’s school is addressing equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism. Is there an equity, diversity, and inclusion committee at your child’s school? Are you part of it? How can you support your child’s teacher in addressing these things in their teaching and in the “classroom” community? What anti-racism work is being done at the school? How are they working to dismantle white supremacy at school? This needs extra attention if your child attends a historically white school or if you live in a historically white community.
3. Build a relationship with your child’s teacher(s) and remember you are in partnership with them. This will help to meet your child’s needs that come up academically, socially, and emotionally. Because of the uniqueness of the school year and many schools being virtual, you may actually have more access to your child’s teacher than years before where you would have to leave work to go and meet with them. Staying in close communication with your child’s teacher(s) allows you to help ensure that your child’s learning needs are met.
4. Provide the emotional support your child needs. It might look like a mental health day in the middle of the week, a nap in the middle of the day, a hug at a random time, a supportive and encouraging conversation, or a space to vent. As adults, it’s easy to forget that living through all of this can be emotionally draining for our kids as well. Encourage them to voice their needs and confide in you so it’s not a mystery when something isn’t right.
5. Practice self-care. Parent burnout is real. Parenting when not living through a pandemic is exhausting, this is some next level tired. We are often so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget that we also need to take care of ourselves. Working while your kids are receiving pandemic school is no where near ideal. There is no easy trick to finding time for self care (believe me I wish there was). But try to listen to what your body needs. You can call out of work sick and take a mental health day. You can get up early to go for a walk by yourself. You can go to bed early even though you finally have a few minutes after the kids go to bed and you really just want to relax and watch netflix. You can journal or meditate if you’re into that. You can listen to your favorite podcast. Whatever it is, do it, and remember it’s a necessity and not optional.
If you can relate to this, you should definitely be at our free workshop. We are going to be talking about all of the ways you can support your children’s social and emotional health by prioritizing equity, diversity, and inclusion. Sign up here.
To keeping it together when school starts.
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