Transitions can be challenging and anxiety provoking. During childhood, some of the most significant challenges occur within the context of school – whether your child is starting a new school or entering a new classroom, the new academic year is a time of transition. Anxiety, which may present as: excessive worry, increased emotional lability (mood swings), social avoidance, somatic ailments (stomachaches, headaches), can be amplified during this time of transition. While every child is unique, here are some general techniques to address anxiety during the transition of returning to school.
Bedtime is primetime for power struggles. Having a consistent, predictable, and positive bedtime routine not only promotes a peaceful home, but also promotes social, emotional, and behavioral well-being; however, achieving this consistency can be challenging, especially when managing the symptoms and behaviors associated with ADHD. According to an article by Hiscock and Mulraney of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, a diagnosis of ADHD is often correlated with sleeping difficulties. While every family’s needs are unique, here are some general tips to manage power struggles at bedtime:
“You are okay.”
Three seemingly benign words which are often unconsciously used with children in an effort to soften wrongs. However, the unintended message of these words can be “Your experience is not valid” or “Your feelings are not worthwhile.” A child falls and scrapes his knee or spills her juice on the floor, there is an instinct to contain the situation, to prevent a large emotional response – crying, yelling, screaming, tantruming – and thus, “You are okay.” But it is so important to development, not to dampen emotional expression. Emotional intelligence – the ability to identify, verbalize, and tolerate a range of emotions in both ourselves and others – is a priceless skill set which can be cultivated from an extremely early age. Rather than saying “You are okay” in an effort to avoid the potential emotional response, embrace that your child is not okay.