Updated: Sep 9, 2019
How ready are you? You've been through the supply list -twice. New clothes, shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, locker accessories, and various other accoutrements have been purchased, packed, and are ready to go. You are all set! Or are you?
Maybe it's because I taught for so long, or maybe it's because I never really grew up but the start of August is almost always a little bittersweet.
There's still a whole month of summer left (in NYC, school starts the day after Labor Day), but you can feel the end is near. There is a change in the air, back to school sales are everywhere (back to school mattress sales -really??), and we start to think (worry?) about the upcoming year- what teacher? friends? curriculum? If you're a teacher, there's an anxiousness to get in and fix your classroom. The "dog days of summer" are spent preparing for the next 10 months. Now, I'm all for being prepared - sort of- but I also think you should enjoy just where you are and let go of what's next especially if you can't do anything about it. take it as it comes- knowing that you have the confidence, resiliency, and grit to see any situation through and come out the other side proud. So, here's my advice to parents, students, and teachers alike: Don't waste today worrying about the future. Have goals and the steps that need to be taken to reach the goal. Include 1 or 2 action steps or strategies to use if and when a challenge pops up.
A Blank Page
So often we are concerned about the new school year...maybe last year was difficult or wasn't all you wanted it to be. Maybe it was great and you think that this year won't measure up. There are thousands of maybes - but here's a gem that will make the next year (and, actually, the rest of your life) worry-free. Realize that you write your own story. At any given moment, you have the opportunity, the power, to change the outcome. Things may not go your way but how you react is on you. There are so many examples for this in all walks of life - Einstein, Michael Jordan, Keanu Reeves - find someone who inspires your child. Hold him/her up as an example.
"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." Neil Gaiman.
Hush My Mouth
Ban the negative talk. Eliminate phrases like "I can't", "It's too hard", "I don't get it" , "I can't help it", "He made me." "She doesn't like me." Replace them with phrases that empower your child. "I need help figuring this out", "It challenging". Figure out a plan to help your child take responsibility for his/her behavior - to navigate or remove themselves from situations that tend to drag them down - and watch them soar!
Have a Morning Routine
Make sure it involves breakfast.
Starting the day with calm and purpose follows a student throughout. The importance of breakfast has been well documented. There are many things you can do to alleviate the morning stress - getting proper sleep, laying out clothes and lunches the night before, having a breakfast "menu", no screen time (TV, computer/tablet, phone) - but it comes down to having a routine. And a start to the day "routine" that involves skipping breakfast, adding stress, chaos, and mayhem (I'm thinking back to getting my 4 dressed and out the door on time) definitely steps on one's zen.
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