Spring is here and I hope that each of you are enjoying the much-needed spring weather and are taking the time to “smell the roses.” Usually within these months, we tend to slow down a bit as we prepare for graduations and celebrating the many achieved milestones. End of the year transitions are a time of excitement and anxiety for students and their families. For students who are moving into the private or public-school system, there are new schedules and increased responsibility. Perhaps your toddler is now a preschooler and the thought of time moving quicker than expected brings a mix of emotions. Maybe you are celebrating a new life and as a first-time parent, are simply in awe at how little the ten fingers and toes really are. There’s something about this time of year that makes us pause a bit more and focus on the little things that are so very important. Maybe you are looking forward to that family vacation that you had to postpone almost two years ago because of the pandemic. In a time where our normalcy was somewhat adjusted, I would like to believe that we got through that period and are stronger and wiser because of it.
Whatever your celebrations are, remember to check in with your kiddos to ensure that their anxiety level is not at an all time high. Graduating from Kindergarten, for example, is a huge deal and may have your graduate thinking, “What’s next?” “How will I find my new class?” “Who will my new teacher be?” All of these thoughts are very common and there’s no need for immediate alarm, however, be sure to speak with your child about the changes that are happening, and most importantly, validate their feelings. As we know all children are unique and handle situations differently, so it’s imperative that we speak to them with that individualism in mind.
When my girls were younger and they entered public school for the first time, each had a different experience. My oldest walked right into the classroom and started to work on her Family Portfolio. The “good-bye, I’ll see you soon” scenario that I had planned out in my head, with tissues in hand, quickly vanished. Her Kindergarten teacher must have seen the blank and confused look on my face as she whispered “You’re doing great Mom!” Some kiddos are just so ready for that next chapter and thrive on the unknown. Embrace that personality with your own excitement and continue to give praises. I’ve said it before in many of my articles, that children tend to take their cues from their parents, and with my youngest daughter, that advice could not be truer. Back then she was more of an observer rather than a risk taker. Change was hard for her and this “big kid” school was very unfamiliar and the building appeared gigantic with so many windows. Although I had major anxiety myself, I remember telling her how exciting this next step would be and how she would make many new friends. I made sure to be positive and upbeat, rather than afraid and anxious. I think those simple steps are what helped her walk into the classroom and greet her teacher. Deja vu all over again.
Remember that every child’s “next step or chapter” may look slightly out of the ordinary and that is alright because we as parents have the means to talk them through anything. Look for those cues and ensure we do not ignore them. A great tip for parents is to continuously talk to their kiddos about the new school, new teacher or new classroom. Even if your young learner does not participate in the conversation about his/her upcoming changes, the information is still being heard. Perhaps your kiddo will be able to visit their new surroundings beforehand, but whatever the circumstance, talk it through with them. Sometimes being anxious about the unknowns can easily be reversed once you take that next step together. Continue raising our future leaders!
Stay positive and continue creating memories with your children. Stay safe and healthy.
Vice President of Education and Training
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