Acknowledge That You Are In Transition
We see around us evidence of the changing season with daylight ending sooner and cooler weather approaching. Back to school sales at stores are another reminder of the transition. Be patient with yourself as you prepare for the change in routine. If you are employed, you may feel like there’s not much change for you like there is for your children going back to school, but you are also experiencing the transition. Even if you are looking forward to the transition, it’s ok to recognize that it’s hard or that you are sad. Your children are a grade or year older. Being able to label that you are in a time of transition may give you a sense of relief and allow you to give grace to yourself during this time. It takes time to figure out the new routine. Also, don’t expect yourself to get things perfect right away.
Determine Your New Routine
Children need structure and so do adults. Make a schedule for the family so you can know who will be where and at what time. This can get more complicated as kids get older and are involved in more activities. Decide what you and your children are each responsible for. This helps to make expectations clear and gives your children opportunities to grow and mature. Writing out the routine and posting it in the kitchen may be helpful to keep your family on track.
Cultivate a Fall Mindset
In order to tackle the challenges of fall, it’s time to develop a new mindset. Are you dreading fall? Your attitude will make a huge difference in how your transition goes. What about fall are you looking forward to? What are your favorite things about fall? Write these things down and keep them handy as a reminder.
Next think about your personal goals for the fall. Write them down so you can keep track of how you are doing. Write down goals for yourself and for your family. Pick a few goals so that it’s not overwhelming. Make sure your goals are achievable and measurable. You could even turn them into a friendly competition. Or maybe the family could earn a night at the movies if everyone stays on track for the first few weeks of school.
Talk with Friends
There are other parents going through the same transition that you are. Instead of isolating yourself or getting caught up in checking things off from your to-do list, make sure to schedule time with friends. We are wired for relationships and making them a priority will provide balance to your life. It’s helpful to have people in your life who are in the same place and who can encourage you and empathize with the difficult times.
This may sound simple, but it takes some dedication to be diligent in this practice. As the routine starts and the calendar fills with activities, make sure to take moments where you are fully present with your children. It’s like taking a snapshot in your mind of the present moment. Enjoy it fully whether you’re playing pretend with your preschooler or having a dance party in the kitchen with your elementary school child or doing the dishes with your adolescent. You will enjoy the moment more if you allow yourself to be fully present.
Self-care will make you a better parent. It will sustain you and give you energy to keep doing what you need to do. For your children’s sake and for your sanity, make sure you carve out time to rejuvenate yourself. Maybe it’s establishing 30 minutes of quiet time in the evening where everyone in the family is responsible for doing something quietly. Maybe it’s finding a hobby and making it a part of your weekly routine. Whatever it is, make it a priority.
Christian Counseling to Help You Through Transition
Hopefully these tips will ease your transition into the fall. You don’t have to dread the change in season and instead you can enjoy the fun moments that will come in the midst of the changes. If you or your children are still struggling after a few weeks of settling into the new routine, counseling may be a helpful resource.
Images cc: freedigitalphotos.net – “Teenage Students With Backpack” by Ambro and “School And Office Supplies Frame, On White Background, Back To School” by photomyheart