I hope that last week’s back-to-school transition went well for your family. Children and young adults, depending upon their age and disposition, experience transitions in different ways. There is no right or wrong way for children to transition; some test the waters slowly, while others jump into the deep end ready to go! Even students returning to Baker transition differently – some relish the change, while others cautiously seek to understand the unfamiliar within their familiar environment.
Was your child eager to get to Baker every day? Or, has your child spent the first few days observing their environment, straddling the fence of uncertainty and curiosity?
No matter how your child approaches transitions, honoring what they need is key. Whether your child is three entering preschool for the first time or, 12 and entering 8th grade, the following are a few principles that I would like to share with parents each year as you help your child navigate this transition:
- Remember the Biological. ‘Reading’ an environment – including the social environment and participating in all of the new interactions – takes a lot of stamina and can be exhausting for people young and old. During this time, children’s eating and sleeping routines may be disrupted. Keeping your child’s routines as consistent as possible helps support them during transitions.
Young children don’t have ‘cranky’ dispositions, they are usually just hungry, thirsty or tired. The same is true for older children even though they have more reserves. Always remember that their basic biological needs are similar – they need regular sustenance and rest, too.
So, remember the cheese stick – or its equivalent – before you broach the question, how was your day?
- Build in Reset Time. After a day of navigating their school day, children’s “I can relax” lever is often activated once they see the familiar–you. It’s not unusual, especially for young children, to cry, vent, or have a tantrum when you arrive. It’s great to plan some reset time for your child – at home or in the car – to unwind, eat, cuddle, or otherwise relax with you.
- Talk through a Routine. With two, three-day weekends in September, it can be more challenging for students as they try to get accustomed to the new routine. For younger children, it is helpful for parents to set a drop-off routine – i.e. read one book together, then two kisses and a high-five. It’s important to talk to your child about their day, especially if he/she is young, to help them remember what their school day routine is typically going to be like. For older children, conversations about school also helps them process their transition in healthy ways.
In our Baker-Parent Partnership, parents bring a nuanced understanding of their children and their dispositions; while we as educators have a nuanced understanding of children at particular developmental stages. If you want to talk through any challenges during this transition back-to-school, please reach out to your child’s teacher, myself for PS-5th grade children, or Tyler for middle school students.
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!