Back to school can be an exciting time or an emotional rollercoaster depending on how you look at it as a parent. For kids, however, it can be full of anxiety if they’ve experienced a major life change such as parent separation, divorce, relocation or loss of a loved one over the summer.
How they express these feelings can vary depending on their age. In young children, it can manifest as difficulty eating or sleeping, and in teenagers, it can be mood swings or isolation.
Below are some ways to connect with your child during this transition.
Whether it’s concerns about starting a new school, worries about bullies, or missing friends or loved ones, talking about it can make a tough situation more comfortable when everyone is on the same page. If you’re taking your child to and from school, put your phone away and be engaged. Ask them about their day. Offer support and remind them that other kids may be going through the same thing and they’re not alone. Let them know that you are always there for them and show it with your actions.
Make school shopping a family affair. Let the kids pick out some of their clothing, backpack and lunchbox, or school supplies. Do homework together. Wind down a long day with a movie, favorite dinner, or board game. If your child is missing their best friend, plan a play date so they can stay connected during the school year.
Stay in touch with your child’s teacher regularly. If necessary, speak with a guidance counselor or family therapist if your child is having difficulty in school or at home following one of these life events.
At Wagstaff, our family law experts are here to help. If you have any questions about post-divorce planning, domestic violence, estate planning or relative issues, give us a call.