Does Johnny remember everything from last year? Nope? Me neither! We can easily find ourselves striving for a perfect transition into school in the fall yet we can easily forget some pretty simple things that can help improve the odds of starting out strong. Having a successful transition period is going to rely not just on what Johnny does, but on you too. Here are some helpful reminders to keep you sane until your family settles in to the routine again.
Remember that transitions are hard on children in general, and some take it VERY seriously. Allow adequate time for adjusting to how you, Johnny, other kids, other parents, and teachers react to the newness this year (and the new people, places, and things abound)! Don’t make assumptions, try to have an extra dose of patience, and set a good example of being flexible to Johnny. People speak of a grace period in transitions. It’s a good rule of thumb although true “grace” should have no end.
Routines should come hand in hand with transitions. Typically transitions present chaos, so finding ways of instilling or re-implementing routine can mitigate negative effects of transitions. As school kicks off and some additional responsibilities creep into your family’s schedule, work to find a balance among the activities. Identify which activities take priority and which you should say no to. If you are the type of person that finds it hard to say “no”, recognize that every “yes” you say implicitly means you are saying “no” to something else. You can’t do it all. Be intentional about what your routine includes, such as extra curricular activities, clubs, social outings, sports, or church activities; ensure Johnny is getting sufficient sleep; and work to be as prepared as possible. This also reduces chaos.
Adjustments in learning may be a very important part of this year’s school. As Johnny moves through the universal stages of physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development, you’ll notice that the development isn’t steady or linear and there are individual differences within the universal stages. Sometimes it will seem as though Johnny just jumped ahead 1 year in physical development but became a little more awkward socially, or he will be reading at 3rd grade levels but struggling with comprehending why 2×5 = 10. Understanding the relative stages that Johnny is currently going through can give you much insight.
Chances are Johnny is fairly “normal” on the developmental spectrum, but educating yourself is great! Learn about the different stages through credible websites, books, or a child therapist. Another related area to pay attention to is Johnny’s learning style and their strengths and interests. Help them recognize their own tendencies and begin to teach them to self-monitor and adjust through out the day to best fit their own needs. No one will care more about their life long learning than they have the capacity to.
Teach Johnny life skills for success. Your job as a parent isn’t to be just a dictator. Your parenting role also includes moments of being a coach, a cheerleader, a mentor, and an example. Be interested in Johnny’s interests even if the only reason is because you love your child. Provide opportunities to teach Johnny money management, health eating, living by your Faith, and just allow time for having silly fun. Set goals with your kids and not just for them. Speak and act in encouraging ways and support your child in achieving their goals. Praise your child for who they are more often than you correct them. Remember everyone defines success uniquely, but it is still success.
Overall, you are the most important person in your kid’s life! You are the role model no matter what you think! Be vigilant to your own thoughts, feelings and expectations around this time of year. Check them out with someone else if you need to, and adjust them as needed. Offer grace and consistency during the transitions. And remember to communicate, communicate, communicate! Life, learning, and love is more of a process than a product. Be thankful!
by Brandon Dixon