This is it, the official end to summer and our regular life begins again. I tend to think of a year as Sept-Jun and the summer as this bonus time of pure fun (and some work thrown in for good measure). I’ve been either a student or teacher for most of my adult life so it’s just how my brain works. I like to start fresh after labor day – when us northeast coasters usually start school. I know some of you already started, but around here, Zephyr is starting Kindergarten on Wednesday *gulp!* Yeah, I can’t believe it either. This has been a pretty challenging transition for all of us. From his last day of preschool, to our week long lake house vacation, to enjoying the last bits of our summer before this new phase begins for all of us, our schedule has been so different. I know it’s definitely affecting how he handles even normal everyday situations that wouldn’t phase him a bit. I don’t know about any of you, but there has been WAY more tantrums and meltdowns then usual. I try to get Zephyr to breathe when he is in it, but it doesn’t always work. I have found a few things that help when it gets challenging around here.
Tips for calming those BACK TO SCHOOL jitters and easing transitions:
- BREATHE! – Practice a breathing exercise that you like, every day! With breathing, it’s important to make it part of your routine- practice when you feel good, so that when you really need it, it’s in your toolbox and easy to use. So not only do you have the tools to use your breath when your child is challenging you, but if you do it together, you’ll both be able to use it when you need it. Here is one that Zephyr and I are sharing with you, that I LOVE. It’s called Heart & Belly breath and it’s so calming and grounding. It feels like you are giving yourself a giant hug. Of course then Zephyr teaches us a Pokemon breath that he made up. Whatever works, right??
- ASK – Ask your child what they need from you when they are getting themselves so worked up. When I ask Zephyr what I can do to help him, he usually says a hug. Then we are able to move through the meltdown pretty quickly and get past what it was that got him worked up in the first place. Most of the time, he doesn’t even know why it’s happening. I find that when I lose my patience, it never helps the situation.
- ATTITUDE SHIFT – Asking Zephyr to change his attitude really seems to get him to change how he’s talking to me. He knows that when he is not nice to me, he won’t get what it is he really wants, so all I have to say is “what do you need to do to change your attitude?” and he’ll usually take 5 min in his room to do just that, or he’ll sit and think about it for a moment and then he actually does it.
- THE MARBLE JAR! – We love our marble jar. I have a child who always wants a new toy. I refuse to buy new toys when we have plenty- plenty that he doesn’t even play with. BUT, if he earns it, that works for me. We pick out something he is working towards- lucky for me it’s been $5 toys. So at the end of the day, we talk about his day, and he gets to put marbles into the jar for all his good behaviors. Things that were challenging for us (getting dressed in the morning without distractions was a biggie), would earn him marbles when done without me begging him to do it. When the jar fills up, he gets his toy. Then we start again. I love it, and I find we may go days without even filling it, because I didn’t have to use it to get him to do what I wanted him to do. It’s just that extra incentive to get us out the door or into bed quicker.
I wish you all luck with your transitions and back to school routines.
I will be sending out biweekly blogs in this next school year full of lots of breathing exercises, poses, mindfulness and other parts to my Mindful Yoga Breaks curriculum. Enjoy!