Practical reasons and solutions to help you and your child settle in for Winter

Even though we are approaching the winter months of school, your child could still be on an emotional roller-coaster from a bumpy start to the year. Several factors may contribute to this such as:

  • Baggage from a previous school year
  • Recent traumatic experience
  • Going through psychotropic medication change
  • The list goes on…

Here are a few tips for dealing with a troublesome school year:

  • Find out the source of the issue – knowing what to address rather than focusing only on symptoms is more productive. Thisan limit emotional reactions and allow for situations to be dealt with proactively
  • Keep lines of communication open and offer support through planned family discussions
  • Discuss topics which pertains to problematic situations within the family possibly during meals or other convenient times when defenses are low. This makes it easier to be productive when discussing situations that are specific to individual or family issues.
  • Children should not feel targeted during these discussions, the conversation should be a general discussion, focused on the topic and solutions rather than the child.
  • Give children the chance to express themselves and issues can be dealt with in a democratic style.

For immediate problems:

  • Be assertive but not critical.
  • Correct the child’s behavior through empathetic directness while finding solutions.
  • Avoid talking negatively about the child or criticizing his or her performance.
  • Ask your child things like: What did you do correct? What did you do wrong? How can you do better?

What specific things can I do as a parent to help?

  • Use a reward and consequence system. Don’t just recognize a child negative behavior but it is important to make an equally big deal about what your child is doing right.
  • Create opportunities to cultivate new friendships. This can be achieved by creating social events such as sleepovers. Also, if your child’s birthday falls during the school year this might also be another opportunity for connecting with classmates.
  • Getting involved at school is essential. If possible stay connected through phone calls, volunteering etc., as this can be helpful for the child to realize you are essentially part of his environment. Connectedness can also avoid those surprises around grade time
  • Get your child involved in extracurricular activities to help burn stress, build self-esteem and make new connections
  • Provide a home environment where your child can de-stress in a flexible yet stable routine, with healthy meals, and sufficient rest.

There are many ways to correct a school year that have become derailed. The key is patience and perseverance and in time you will begin to see positive changes.

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