School is back in session! Some of us have gone from the bliss of long summer days and lazy schedules to a tight regime of waking up early and time managed to the minute. Others may be relieved that the kids are finally back in school and the hectic, irregular schedule of summer is over.
Whatever your situation may be, it’s important for parents and children who experience a long stretch of time away from each other—often 8 — 10 hours a day—to reconnect when you come home.
The combination of empty tanks and the fact that we missed one another often results in parents and kids butting heads and words. Show downs with our offspring, big emotions, or unwanted behaviors are often a result of not taking a little time to reconnect with one another at the conclusion of our work and school day.
Here are a few simple, but important, ways to ease into the transition of coming home:
- Always greet with a hug or a kiss or both.
- Tell your kids that you missed them.
- Try to avoid the “task master” list of what you need them to do when you get home, (they just executed a long school day)—let some time pass.
- Give them time in the car to be quiet, listen to their favorite radio station, or to day dream.
- If they feel like sharing, listen with intention.
- When kids get home, give them 30 — 45 minutes to land, get a healthy snack, and to enjoy their home.
- Play some beautiful music when you get home—it changes the mood and can relax everyone.
- Establish a routine that allows time for getting homework done before or after dinner—stick to it. Do the same for bed and bath scheduling.
- Eat together! At least one parent should be present to share the day during dinner. Allowing time for a meal and for real face time helps to soothe the separation of the day.
- Put all cellphones away—meals and technology don’t mix.
- Practice being grateful.
- Don’t forget story time—it is often when our kids share the most.
Good luck with getting used to the new schedule, and if your child is struggling with school transitions, anxiety, tantrums, separation issues, or other concerns, make sure to check out our resources at Parents Place. Our experts offer behavioral and school support, special needs services, and child and family therapy. Schedule a consultation today!
Mechele Pruitt is the Director of Parents Place in San Francisco.