Thursday, January 2, 2014

Coming Back From Break: Getting Our Kids Ready

As my darling, sweet, wonderful daughter dabbles in the terrible-twos Mr. Lipstick and I have been reading all sorts of random parenting articles to get any advice on what we could do better to prevent the amazing meltdowns* we are experiencing.

He came across this article from the Washington Post, which felt fairly basic except for point number six: Acknolwege that it may be hard to go back to school/daycare after a long break instead of just ignoring it.
The article states:
“As a goodbye on the first day back to school or work, be sure to smile and tell your child that even though you won’t be together (or you’ll miss each other) today, you’ll still be thinking about him and you know he’ll be thinking about you,” says Beth Griffith, a D.C. -based child and adult psychotherapist.
After a long break from school, one that included lots of overstimulation, fun and major changes in routines, children who tend to be anxious may have a tough time transitioning back and separating from their parents."
This resonated with me as a parent, but also as a teacher. As a parent I do need to make sure Little Miss Lipstick is ready to go back to daycare. She's had two weeks of one on one mommy time, lots of downtime, lots of not having to share her toys (and new toys at that!) and lots of not having to wait long to get an adult's attention. (Although I suspect some of the current drama in our house is because she's ready to be back on her usual routine). I need to start talking to her about going back to her daycare before it's the night before and I suddenly announce "Guess What!" as though it's the most exciting adventure in the world.

As a teacher I've seen it from the other end. Kids coming back from a break isn't easy. They have just had a few weeks of constant downtime, not having to wait in line, not having to raise their hand, fun adventures, computer games, getting their needs met quickly, and getting to set their own agendas. The sudden transition back to reality isn't easy. I've also thought of this as a teacher's burden- a job hazard like dealing with lice or being thrown up on. The idea of parents helping on their end never occurred to me, but I can see how helpful it would be to have parents start the prepping process so it's not quite as though these children were just thrown into the deep end of the pool.

The article goes on with some tips on how you can make the transition better. It's worth reading!
~~  ~~  ~~

Mommy: I just gave you applesauce for breakfast because you asked nicely for it one millisecond ago. It's on the table.
Little Lipstick: NOOOOOOO, NOOOOOO APPLESAUCE. NOOOOOO. *falls into crying heap on kitchen floor.*
Mommy: *smacks head into wall*


Unknown said...

Thanks for the reminder! As I am enjoying the end of our Christmas holiday, slowly but surely I am getting in gear to get back to school! This post and your last one has fueled my anticipation of starting 2014 with my first graders in such a positive way! Thank you! Gayle Robert

Unknown said...

Thanks for the reminder! You have given me a lot to think about! During these last few days of vacation, I am definitely getting back in "school mode" -- now is the time to be proactive and set my expectations for my first graders upon their return! So much to do and revisit: rules, procedures, hopes and dreams, stories of Christmas adventures, etc. This post and your last one has been very valuable --thanks again!!! Gayle Robert