Fall is upon us and it’s Back To School
by Nina Sidell
Another school year is unfolding; there are many subtle and not-so-subtle changes that take place around and within us. This is true for your child and also for yourself. This period of early fall on the calendar and in people’s lives reflects a fiercely transitional time. It is a period of switching gears, increased energy output, conflicting needs, feelings, and schedules. We relinquish and reflect upon the lazy days of summer, yet must deal with the pace and intensity of life as it quickens like an afternoon thunderstorm. As soon as September rolls around, stealing patches of the sunshiny days of August are less obvious and we adapt to the next season as quickly as it approaches. That is the flow of life. That is also the way of parenting; once you get used to something with your child, it often changes, evolves, or perhaps something breaks down. The permanency is there as is constant change- and that is growth! As the new year unfolds, so can many life lessons and growth opportunities reveal themselves for all of you.
Children and parents feel the energetic shift with the start of the new school year and the busy fall season. Since life is not always a “beach” and time marches on, acknowledge everyone’s feelings and do the best you can to balance your lives. You may have a child who is reticent about school or needs support with academics, is socially anxious or highly socialized, or has a full extra-curricular schedule. You may be juggling the care of other children, family members, and your job or career. If you are single parenting or co-parenting, there are more detailed commitments and communications that must be engaged as the year begins. Life becomes a balancing act. You have more responsibilities and seemingly less time. With the onset of the school year, there are fewer moments to enjoy the simplicities of life; the quietude of nature, and your own inner space. However, you are responsible to yourself and your family to carve out “quiet time” and offer the same to your family members. As leader of the pack, valuing time to balance all with reflective and restoring “Me” time, you have a better chance to adapt gracefully and teach about the importance of restorative time to your family.
Set clear intentions and develop mindfulness to moderate your inner chatter, balance your emotions, and find calm.
When you consistently feel calm, you store inner strength to deal with impending emotional issues and life challenges with greater ease and strength. As you experience each new season and moment as a parent, growth opportunities are presented to you as an individual, leader and family guide- and you are poised to respond with grace.
Schools and religious institutions teach your child, so do friends, life experiences, and family relationships at home. So often the focus is on the child learning, while the parent is not expected to do the same. If your family culture values personal growth, you can support universal learning in your family. Many parents need to resolve their history, move into the present moment, and find new ways to stretch beyond their story and pain to parent with a conscious, loving presence. “Make balancing love for all a high priority. Ensure that the heart of your home is love.” (Nina Sidell, Parenting for Life, 2015). It takes self-honesty, courage, and conscious intent to be open, and learn and grow, right alongside your child as he or she does the same. It is important that children learn and grow from their own inspirations, creativity, and curiosities, and are not only motivated by outside forces or influences. The same is true for adults- keeping themselves honest and therefore flexible in their self-awareness.
Here Are Some Fall Survival Skills For You:
- Learn to delegate reasonable chores and responsibilities to family members.
- Eliminate needless errands, phone calls, busywork and time wasters.
- Find creative solutions to everyday problems, engage your child in this process.
- Pay attention to your parent-child relationship and make it a priority.
- Think positively about your role as parent and your child’s developmental tasks.
- Un-clutter your living and working spaces. Do it in short bursts or all at once. Just do it.
- Prioritize your responsibilities and goals, creating a general “to do” list to work from.
- Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, exercise, meditate, use healthy outlets and have fun.
- Plan ahead, call ahead, get directions, make arrangements and organize ahead of time.
- Be flexible and spontaneous the rest of the time.
- Prepare meals in advance, use the freezer, and cook in the morning or the day
- Be sure to connect with your children, your partner, friends, and yourself. Care, stay connected and share dialogue, smiles and hugs- even at crunch times.
- Set limits on over-scheduling. Create space for “down time”, “alone time” and “family time.”
- Balance back-to-school stress with lightness and a sense of humor. Keep your perspective.
Enjoy this time of the year and know that you probably cannot get everything done all of the time. You can, however, focus on enjoying the moments of your shared lives and express love fully and freely.
Live Inspired! ® Nina Sidell, M.A. Therapist, Life Coach, and Speaker. Mom’s Choice Award-Winning and Deepak Chopra endorsed author of, Parenting for Life www.LiveInspiredwithNina.com