Return to school

Whatever you or your children are feeling about the return to school right now is OK.

My two went in demonstrating the polar opposite positions: one excited and relived, the other nervous and not keen at all. Some people will be feeling both. Whatever you or your children are feeling, it is likely to take time to settle. Be patient with yourselves and your family. Even my delighted, bouncing-about 8 year old still lost the plot entirely when asked to clean his teeth. That wasn’t really because he has a problem with cleaning his teeth, it was because his ‘stress bucket’ is pretty full right now. Stress doesn’t have to be negative to be overwhelming. He has a lot of thoughts and feelings to deal with and it will take him time.

We need to go gently with our children right now, however old they are, and go gently with ourselves. We have all had to adapt, manage and cope with a lot and that takes a toll. It doesn’t mean it has been, or will be awful, it just means we need to be kind and let things settle.

If you are finding yourself or your child having meltdowns or feelings of not being able to cope, try these four steps:

  1. Validate – it is OK to feel whatever you are feeling.

  2. Soothe – take time to calm down, do whatever you need to help soothe yourself and get that overflowing stress bucket back under a bit of control.

  3. Reconnect – have a hug, say sorry, remind yourselves that you love each other and that it will be OK.

  4. Problem solve – Is there anything that you can do or that someone can help you do to make things feel more manageable right now? If there isn’t, then problem solve ways you can help yourself feel OK until these difficult feelings pass.

There is never nothing that can be done, even if what can be done is acknowledging that change isn’t possible right now. That acknowledgement and offering to sit beside someone while they experience difficult times is powerful in itself. Don’t promise yourself or your young person that you can change the world or take away everything that is difficult. But do promise them that people can support them to weather whatever it is that feels difficult.

Thinking of you all right now.

With all best wishes,

Dr Helen Care

Clinical Psychologist

A Confident