The new school year is right around the corner!
Parents are wondering how much longer the school holidays could possibly go for!
Teachers are wishing the holidays could be stretched out a little longer!
Kids are too busy playing still to be even thinking about it (apart from maybe when they go and get supplies and uniforms with Mum and Dad!)
But the reality is....it is upon us whether we want it to be or not!
This is...to some degree...my favourite part of the year.
Now, I know some of you might call me crazy! But allow me to explain!!
This is the part of the year where we have approximately 200 fresh, unwritten school days ahead of us. They have not been created yet and we get to be creative! (I am speaking to parents, teachers and kids here!)
This is also the part of the year where we get to learn and explore again for the first time.
This is the part of the year where we look forward and see the infinite possibilities and opportunities that lie before us!
This is the time we get to prepare ourselves and MOST IMPORTANTLY - prepare our kids for the year ahead!
But HOW do we prepare our KIDS for a new school year and all the uncertainty that comes with it?
We know that if we ask a better question, we can get a better answer. So the same applies to what we focus on. For kids going back to school or starting school for the first time (regardless of how old and what grade) - they can either focus on the fear and worry about who is or isn't in their class, or who their teacher is or isn't, or what they don't know yet. Or when these feelings arise, we can help them to shift their focus to all the new opportunities that are available and how they could learn and grow!
Possible opportunities for discussion to help shift the focus for our kids:
There are numerous areas we can draw focus to when we are talking with kids about starting something new, like the new school year. It's simply about starting the discussion and opening the doorway to seeing things differently!
So I hope some of these ideas are valuable!
* You will have an opportunity to meet new people.
* You will have an opportunity to make new friends.
* You will have an opportunity to become a new friend to someone else.
* You will have an opportunity to see friends you already know!
* You will have an opportunity to meet your new teacher. (Super important one!)
* You will have an opportunity to go and visit your previous teachers to let them know how you are going and what you are learning!
* You will have an opportunity to get to know your teacher.
* Your new teacher will have an opportunity to get to know you and see how awesome you are!
* You will have an opportunity to be brave and courageous!
* You will have an opportunity to make mistakes (woo hoo!) and learn from them!
* You will have an opportunity to take risks in your learning!
* You will have an opportunity to learn how to problem solve (in learning and social interactions)
Everyone feels the same on the first day!
Some children will already be thinking and worrying and dreading the thought of going back to school. Some children as young as Year One! Five and six-year-olds are having school anxiety already because the belief they have about themselves and the world around them is already constructed.
We can not change beliefs overnight but we can certainly guide thinking towards a more productive and positive direction for them!
* When your child says they are worried about school....acknowledge their concerns. Don't disregard them (as we tend to do as adults sometimes). But then....shift the focus by asking a question about what they are excited about or an opportunity question.
* When your child says they don't like their new teacher - don't agree with them saying "It's ok...I don't either!" If they have not been taught by that teacher before...their opinion is most likely constructed by what they hear from the adults around them. (Not always....but more often than not!) Acknowledge their feelings, you might ask - 'What makes you say that?' and then shift the focus to an opportunity question.
* When your child says they don't have any friends in their new class. Again...ask why they think that, acknowledge their feelings and then shift the focus to an opportunity question.
* By general rule of thumb - kids will shift their focus a lot easier and more quickly than you realise!
It is our job to guide our children and give them the language that EMPOWERS them!
Change will always bring opportunity! And there is a lot of change at the beginning of a new school year!
Until next week....have a magnificent and mindful week.
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