Friday, September 3, 2010

Children and the First Week of School

If your child comes home and has a lot of energy, this is a very normal and developmentally appropriate means of communication for children.  It might feel like you encountered Tigger in the 100 Acre Wood and you’re looking at Winnie the Pooh as if to say, “How did this happen?” 
This is often seen the last week of summer vacation into the first week or school and last week of the school year, too.  This can be witnessed in preschoolers through high school seniors.  During the first week of school, students are making a big transition in their schedules.  They are adjusting from a summer vacation schedule to structured school day.  The range of emotions can go from being nervous to sheer excitement.  Students, unlike adults, do not have a lot of years of reference to refer back on when encountering new situations.  When your children arrive home, a wonderful activity to do is to ask a directed question such as “What was the best part of your day?” or “What made you feel good today?” 
          Children sometimes come home and talk about an unpleasant part of their day.  I know as a parent it breaks your heart.  What helps me in these situations is to remind myself that not everything is going to come easy for my child.  One of the best strategies a parent can do in these situations and at any time is to empower my child. 
 Parents and teachers can’t provide a road map for children for every situation they will encounter.  Children will hit some streets that branch off in two directions and they will be required to make a choice.  
One of the best things we can do to prepare our children for those situations is to capitalize upon their strengths.  When children feel upset or discouraged, remind them of their strengths.   Tell them what they are good at and what they like to do.  When we do this, we allow children to build upon their strengths like climbing a ladder.  
Whether it is a high level of energy or a child being quiet deep in his or her thoughts, this is a very normal part of childhood particularly this week.   Along with this also come humor, joy and love.  It is what makes being a parent great.   

As I see it, if you’re quiet, you’re not living.   You’ve got to be noisy, or at least your thoughts should be noisy and colorful and lively.
                                                               -Mel Brooks

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