3 Shifts Parents Feel as Kids Go Back to School
It is that time of year again when the transitions of late summer move into fall. Many of us feel this as “back to school” time. Whether you have children or not we all feel this energetic and physical shift in the air. Something changes. Your yoga class is a little more full. The roads are busier in the mornings and mid-afternoons. The back to school section at your local shop is nearly bare.
For parents that have a spiritual focus in their lives it is important to observe how this transition affects us and our families. Yoginis and yogis who are mothers and fathers tend to have a calmer sense about them at this time of change. No matter what age your children are -- kindergarten to college -- if they are in school you will feel the shift. Let's look at a couple ways we can be more mindful at this time of year.
More Time For You
When our kids head back to school we all of a sudden find that we have a little more room in our lives. And at the same time a little less. More because we don’t have the kids around the house 24/7. Less because we now find ourselves having to cart them too and from school, activities, friends houses, etc.
Some parents have the home and family as their full time jobs. This mama gets to breathe a sigh of relief as she can now take a little time for herself. So often in the summers you are focused 100% on the kids and the needs of the family. Now you get to have a little you time.
Other parents work from home. My husband and I fall into this category and it is so nice to have the house quiet for a few hours! No one fighting, calling my name repeatedly, or asking me to do something for them when I’m right in the middle of something and they could do it themselves! Ahh. The peace and quiet is marvelous!
Most parents probably fall into this last category of working outside the home. These guys get a little break from having to worry about what the kids are doing and who is watching them (if they are young). You know they are safe and hopefully learning something really great at their schools.
Become an Observant and Loving Guide
There is a shift from the fun and freedom of the summer to the structure and routine of the fall. The conversations we have with our kids as they go back to school also change. Most kids when they come home from school say their day was “Fine.” or “Good.” They don’t share very much. We as parents have to draw out of them the things they have experienced, their worries, their joys.
So many emotions can come to the surface for kids at any age. As yoginis and parents we are here to not solve our kids problems for them. Instead we can be kind, loving and honest guides to help them through whatever struggle is coming up for them.
My family and I recently moved from the city to the mountains. We moved into our new home on August 1 and school started August 19. Both my girls were so nervous. Kevra is in kindergarten and Zella just started 5th grade. Kevra kept putting herself down because she wasn’t going to be smart enough (totally not true). Both of them were most nervous about meeting new friends and at the same time excited for school to start. For me, as a mindful parent, it wasn’t about telling them they shouldn’t feel the things they were feeling or to take away their pain. It was about helping them know that all feelings are ok and that we can still be brave, kind and excited. When Kevra put herself down, I helped her realize she wasn’t stupid by asking her a kindergarten type of question that she answered correctly. We worked through fun flash cards for her age.
With the school year comes extra activities. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone and neither do your kids. Be moderate in the extracurricular activities you and your children choose to participate in. There is no need to over-schedule your kids -- complicating your life and theirs.
Over scheduling puts a lot of stress on your kids and the entire family. Find the balance in the extra activities by making sure that there is an element of fun in how you choose to spend your time.
Now It’s Your Turn
The shifts we feel at this time of year can be subtle or more world rocking -- it’s up to us.
1) Mindful, calm and happy transitions are possible. It takes conscious effort and leading by example. If you are stressed, anxious and worried, your children will most likely mirror that energy. Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. Take time to find your peace and calm on the inside and let it shine outward to illuminate your life and your children’s. You will be glad you did.
2) Find your children’s strengths and play into those. Every child has their own unique gifts and skills. Develop ways you can help your kids thrive with their virtues. Don’t do it for them. Guide them. Teach them. Observe how it lands and keep evolving your own mindful parenting skills.
3) Remember that if you fill your schedule too full you only have yourself to blame. If you think it is because your child needs to do this so their future can be x y and z, look again. Is that really true? No. Decide where your life force will be well used and not wasted. You are in control of this one entirely.
With mindfulness about how our roles start changing we can allow this fall to be easier than ever before.
See you on the inside,