BACK TO SCHOOL BLUES
I’ve noticed my little one has been, well, unhinged since starting school this fall.
It’s been humbling.
When I’m non-reactive, it’s fine. Some days I celebrate that. Some days it’s just normal.
After a few consecutive days… well, my patience for being yelled at or seeing her hit or hearing her scream runs low.
So, what to do?
Take an inventory of what her world might feel like during this transition
she used to be with me all day, now she is without me in the morning.
she may be figuring out new rules
she may be negotiating how to fit in among lots of new children
she may be attempting to make friends
she may miss my energetic presence when she is stepping into new situations
she may be stressed or overwhelmed by the newness, the noise and being with so many children, among other things
Get curious about what she might need
a safe person and place to express all the emotions she is holding in while she is away from me
acceptance for how she is feeling
guidance and boundaries around safe expression
love and tenderness for the big new world she is encountering on her own
And what she probably doesn’t need from me
expectations for her to be a certain way
threats or punishment
The truth is: I cannot control how she behaves.
After many days, eventually I landed on focusing on what I can control, with the thought that maybe (hopefully) it will contribute to a better outcome: less reactivity from me, more predictability and support for her.
Some things I choose to focus on:
earlier bedtime with a predictable routine
predictable wake time, minimize rushing
having food ready for her at pick up
predictable dinner time, on the early side
being home in the afternoons for play with minimal stimulation
quiet reading together or simple food prep together
willingness to help her with things she already has mastered (getting dressed, shoes on, getting her own drinks, carrying her to the car if she would like)
welcoming the expression of big feelings while also holding gentle and consistent boundaries around hurting bodies, things or others’ feelings
giving her space from extensive questions after school
listening and reflecting what I hear she doesn’t like, understanding that she may be processing other things from her day
offering her extra comfort: hugs, holding her, affection
After a few days of focusing on what I CAN do, it has become more clear that she is struggling, and still doing the best she can. She has a better chance of finding her way back to a regulated state when I model my own regulation by being calm and consistent and loving.
And so the work continues…
Curious about how you can create more predictability in your routine? Or how to feel less explosive around your child’s behavior? Reach out! Hop onto my schedule and we’ll work through it together.