• Jennifer Meliton

A full week- "it" gets real.

Our kids started back to school last Thursday. Two days on, two days off, and now we are off to a full week. If you have little ones who are just starting to school, here's a little of what you might see. (Note: this algorithm is also often accurate for other new grades, jobs, beginnings.)

Little dudes wait excitedly all summer long for school to finally start. They are asked about 9,000

times, "Are you ready for school to start? Are you excited for kindergarten?" Seriously these guys have no idea what's about to hit them. Even though they've been to school to visit quite a bit, there's nothing like those first two days without mom or dad to get your attention. Think back to when you got married. You wait forever for that wedding. "Are you ready? Are you excited?" Heck yes! The wedding rocks! There you are! Then you get on to real life.

The first day of school is a great celebration. Pictures, bubbles, special dinner... we get to day two and everyone wakes up like, "Yep. I got this. We're good." At about 2:30 on Friday afternoon the wheels started to come off a bit and we had a few DEFCON 3 melters. It was getting warm. It was getting long. It was getting real. The end of the day came just in time...bus, then weekend!

Tomorrow the kiddos will get their first taste of what we call Monday. Every year parents tell me that the kids start to wake up in a bit of shock. "Wait. What? We have to go back? Again? Like... all the time now? This is not what I signed up for!" My sweet child. You've passed a threshold. Welcome to the world of Sunday night and Monday morning.

This week is going to be hot. Upper 80's with 140% humidity. If your child's school has air conditioning this is a minor detail. My schools do not have AC in every room, so it's going to get sticky. Literally. By the end of the day everyone is warm and salty. Again, literally. It's only natural that the reaction to having to get up in the morning gets a little less enthusiastic. This is totally normal. Remember when your new job started to become routine and the snooze button went from acquaintance to friend?

Here's what your child needs from you. Consistency, support and boundaries. They will believe more of how you respond than what you say to respond. Early bed time, plenty of time to get ready in the morning, and a cheerful send off is so helpful. Words of encouragement stick like sand to sweat. At the end of the day if your little guy or girl comes home wilted, try not to commiserate too much, or become too insensed about things. Instead, try one comment to validate them and then moving on. "Gosh that sounds though, sweetie. I'm so proud of you for being such a trooper. Is there a special story you'd like to read tonight?" Then move on and tell them about the details of your day. What you had for lunch, things you did... and soon they will realize that we're all living life. Ups and downs, highs and lows, warms and cools.

Next week after the three day weekend, they get to discover "Tuesday-Monday." Even tougher than Monday Monday. So hold tight. Keep things as consistent as possible, and enjoy the highs and lows. Before you know it you'll be driving to college to take them the back pack they forgot to take with them. (Of all things- a backpack?!?)

IMPORTANT LOOK FOR: After school melt downs are a real phenomenon. Your usually happy peanut starts to act out in the evenings or is crying more than usual? What's up? Remember that your child feels the very safest with you. It can be hard to hold it together all day long, and when they see you they are just so happy that all the feels come to the surface and you get the tsunami of it all. This is ok. Hugs, consistency, support, encouragement. You got this. If you start to see major changes in the intensity, frequency, and duration of meltdowns we should talk. That's why I'm here.

Enjoy the week everyone! Comment below with how your first day back to school went!

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