School supply shopping, open house nights, last minute doctor visits...back to school can mean craziness for the schedule! In one weekend we had three kids transitioning to college, talk about a whirlwind. Change can be hard and stressful for everyone. Even exciting change still creates stress in the body. And the body does not differentiate between positive stress and negative stress!
Keeping something steady in your routine can communicate to the body that it’s secure, reducing anxiety. Recently my husband and I opted to make dinnertime 6:00 regardless of who will be home for the meal, with too many schedule variations we needed something steady.
Very small changes in structure can create huge payoffs in developing a sense of safety and security for your kids. For instance, notice when you’re asking your kids questions like “what do you want to do?” “should we go now?” “it’s time to turn the TV off, OK?” This transfers the job of setting structure to your child, which unintentionally communicates to them that they are in charge of their world. What they need in times of transition is a sense that you are in charge, able to take care of them and stronger than the stressors coming their way (both negative and positive).
Try using language that communicates what is going to happen next as if it's a fact. "The TV will be off in 5 minutes," or "time to go out the door." Better yet, eliminating the discussion and just acting sometimes sets the best structure. Try gently taking a hand and heading out the door, or handing a backpack and lunchbox to them with a smile or bringing the toothbrush to the child without creating a conversation. Using proactive non-verbals can be extremely comforting to a child's sense of security.
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Hello and welcome! I'm Karin, I'm a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with a private practice in New Brighton, MN serving the Twin Cities metro area, St. Paul and Minneapolis. I specialize in helping struggling kids and overwhelmed adults find relief and live a vibrant life.