Starting School Is Hard For Parents Too

Be it kindergarten or college, sending your child off to school can be a difficult thing for parents. There are a mix of emotions, it is bittersweet as they say.

Starting a new chapter in life is exciting and school is such a wonderful thing for all children. It is where they grow and learn and find themselves. For mom and dad there are moments of pride — “thats my kid!” — accompanied by moments of grief — “when did he get so grown up? where did the time go?” As the kids gather their backpacks and lunch boxes, and mom and dad begin to wonder how they might spend their days or evenings, here are a few tips to help ease the transition.

How To Cope With the Back to School Transition

1.) Plan — plan your day. If you are a stay-at-home mom, do some pampering. Plan some new activities or hobbies you might want to start. Don’t ignore that this change has come, such things can only lead to more strife later. Plan after school time with your kiddos, and use this as a time to listen and talk each other through the transition.

2.)Understand that any sadness you feel will soon pass. It won’t stick around forever. Try not to dwell. Drowning yourself in thoughts of what once was, or could have been, is only going to deepen your sorrows. Instead focus on the future — maybe plan a family trip so you can all be together again with no school responsibilities (during break, of course).

3.)Be gentle with yourself. It is ok to feel the way you do. Acknowledge that you are going through some big changes. Parents may be overwhelmed with worry and sadness and that is normal. It is ok.

4.)Focus on other relationships in your life. Vow to use your increase in alone time to enhance your bond with your spouse, or bond with other children or friends you haven’t seen in a while. If you have school-aged children, get involved in the PTA or other school organizations and interact with others that feel the same as you. Plus being part of school actives will help you feel closer to your child.

5.)Embrace a fun new way to communicate. If calling is no longer working for your college student — you could start to text more often throughout the day, or share pictures frequently. If you are missing your school-aged child add a note to his/her lunch or send them with a special treat that makes them think of you, and lets them know you are thinking of them.

6.)Focus on the positive. Yes things are hard right now — they are hard on both you and your child, although chances are your child is doing better than you. In a couple weeks you will have your groove and things will be easier, but for right now look at your child — really look at him/her and you give yourself a pat on the back — you made this kid and look at him/her now!

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Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC

Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: alison@moveforwardlancaster.com.