As much as you looked forward to school being out last June, there is something to be said for school being back in session in September..for kids anyway. You loved the lazy days of summer–the care free schedule, the lack of pressure, the slower pace. And your children did, too. But truth be told most children often do better during the regular school year, having the consistent schedule that necessarily accompanies school.
But September can be a challenging month. For children there is so much newness and unpredictability–new schools, new sports teams, new teachers and coaches, new classes, new friends. Even returning students feel anxious about new teachers, new classrooms, harder lessons, greater expectations. But it is short lived. While it’s a big load for them, after a week or two, they get it. Given the time and space to adjust, children do fall right back into the school year schedule, and soon they are thriving.
It’s us parents who may not do so well in September. The start of school is harder on parents than it is on children. The pressure to get the kids up, dressed, breakfasted, and out the door…on time!.. becomes your life everyday. And at the other end you taxi each of them to classes and lessons, facilitate playdates and practice and homework, make dinners, run baths, read stories, make lunches, read newsletters, remember trip slips…and fall into bed, only to start all over again in the morning! Then there are school committees and meetings and back-to-school-nights and charities and celebrations…and your own work. It is no wonder that September makes parents crabby. There is just too much to do, too many nights out, too many obligations. And that makes for really crabby parents, parents who are stressed, anxious, and exhausted.
And you know what crabby parents make? Crabby kids! Why? Because your children absorb your moods. And your children need you, regular old you at home.
As you get back into the school year saddle, be mindful of your own stress and anxiety level. Measure the time you spend away from home at night. Be available to your children. Give them as big a piece of you–your emotional time–as you are giving to all your other obligations. After all, aren’t they more important?
Don’t sabotage September. It is your job to be the calm, steady parent your children need you to be. It is your job to provide the home environment that enables them to adapt to school life and thrive…all the way until next summer.