Hello fellow parents. I wonder how you are setting into your new routines. I hope you are finding time for some self-care now that your young people have gone back to school.
How are you finding school mornings? My daughter’s first morning of school left me emotionally exhausted and here’s why. I had big expectations. I expected smiles and excitement. I expected her to happily get into her uniform and pose for a photo and I expected it to all feel easy. None of those things happened so if you struggled that first morning and maybe all the mornings since, you’re not alone!
My daughter did not want her uniform on, she did not want photos and the suggestion of her morning wee was enough to send her into the mother of all meltdowns. I admit that the first morning I couldn’t cope. I cried and begged her to please get ready whilst she raged at me. It wasn’t pretty.
Was my daughter being naughty? No. Was she trying to let me down or ruin her first day at school? Of course not. Any behaviour is a communication of something that’s going on underneath. My daughter was anxious about the new environment where she doesn’t know anyone and where she’s bright enough to know she will be left without mummy for most of the day.
So, after a little pep talk with myself, I made a plan for dealing with mornings going forward. After about 3 days of meltdowns over the morning wee, she is beginning to settle into her new routine.
Here’s what we have been doing:
- First and foremost, I am looking after ME. Enough sleep, eating well, and managing my own stress and anxiety.
- I’m (mostly) making sure I am prepared the night before, so I am not stressed in the morning.
- I’m giving as much time as I can to getting ready, so it doesn’t feel like a rush
- The extra time means I can inject some playfulness into the process, you wouldn’t believe the difference this makes.
- I am being endlessly, exhaustively positive about school
These things are all really helpful but still what happens when, despite your best intentions, they are either refusing to get ready or are in full meltdown? The wording may be different depending on age but essentially it goes like this…
What’s going on for you right now?
I wonder if you’re feeling a little worried about school.
Is there anything bothering you that you’d like to talk about?
As always, the key here is empathy, empathy and I’m going to say it again…. EMPATHY. My daughter agreed that she was worried. I let her know it was understandable and OK to be worried whilst still keeping up positives like the fact that it would be fun, she would make new friends etc.
It can be really easy as parents to feel like behaviours are somehow aimed at us. We can get triggered by our young people not meeting our expectations. This is really normal and understandable. However, if we can look past these things to the feelings that are causing these behaviours then the behaviours will often take care of themselves.
Hang in there, parents. And remember to look after yourselves as a priority. This will always be best for your young people.
Take care, stay safe and stay kind.
– Blog written by Terrie