With August here, parents, teachers, and kids are experiencing heightened anxiety about transitioning back to school. In this episode, we provide out-of-the-box strategies and concepts to be mindful of in order to manage the back-to-school transition for your child and the entire family. We discuss how to feel confident about returning to academic learning, whatever that may look like for your family. We touch up how to confidently support your child and anyone else involved in the back-to-school process, including you!
Be sure to listen for:
· Ways to get the kids ready for back to school after remote learning
· How to reduce the anxiety around academics and “catching up”
· Managing big emotions using executive function, soft skills, and play
· How to manage after school meltdowns for kids of any age
· What to avoid during the back to school transition
· How to prepare your child’s immune system for the school year ahead
· Providing an environment for your child that helps them to thrive in transition
About the Hosts:
About Dimple Arora – Founder of Mindful Evolution
Dimple Arora is the founder of Mindful Evolution (ME) — a parenting movement that aims to empower parents and their kids towards positive transformation and life-changing results...one thought, one emotion, and one choice at a time.
Dimple is an expert in women and teen empowerment and specializes in helping individuals reduce the debilitating effects of stress and anxiety using mindfulness, nutrition, EFT tapping, and other energy psychology modalities. Dimple is a Certified Life Coach, EFT, and NLP Practitioner, Holistic Nutritionist, and Energy Therapist. She holds degrees in mathematics, business, and education and was previously employed in the corporate world and as a high school math teacher.
You can book a complimentary coaching call with Dimple on her website at https://www.mindfulevolution.ca and connect with her on social media.
About Shaista Fatehali – Founder of Thrive Kids
Shaista Fatehali is the founder of Thrive Kids BC where she works with children and families to help nurture connection, empower a sense of self - worth and discover what is needed for individual families to thrive. Shaista is a speaker and the author of the children’s book BACK HOME; which has received accolades nationwide. She is a certified children’s and parent life coach and works with clients to build soft skills such as interpersonal awareness, effective communication, emotional agility emotional regulation, problem-solving, transition planning, and mindfulness. As a teacher and mother of two young girls, her true passion lies in giving her children, her students, and clients the tools to reach their most true authentic selves.
To book a complimentary call with Shaista or to learn more about Shaista and the programs she offers at Thrive Kids BC, please visit her website at https://thrivekidsbc.ca/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thrivekidsbc/
Thanks for Listening!
We are so grateful to have you join us! To continue the conversation and connect with us and other like-minded moms, head on over to join our free Facebook
I AM MOM Parenting Community! We are honoured to use this podcast as a platform for real mom conversations that help you feel inspired to take action to create a family environment where everyone can thrive. We want you to not only feel inspired as a parent, but as a WOMAN.
If you know of someone who can benefit from this message or who would be an awesome addition to our community, please share using the social media buttons on this page!
Please post questions or notes about this episode in the comments section below!
We would love to keep you updated on every episode! To get automatic updates of new podcast episodes released every week, please follow us on the podcast app that you use on your mobile device.
You can also subscribe to our email lists on our websites Mindful Evolution and Thrive Kids for a free gift and weekly podcast reminders!
Leave Us an Apple Podcasts Review
We pour our heart and soul into making this podcast a valuable part of your week. We appreciate every bit of feedback to create an exceptional experience for you. Ratings and reviews from our listeners help us to improve our content and your experience. Your review is also critical in helping us to become visible so others can find us on their podcast apps. If you have a minute, an honest review on iTunes would be much appreciated! Thank you so much! Have a beautiful day!
Imagine being present, calm and connected, while creating a family environment where everyone can thrive.Dimple Arora:
Welcome to the IM mom parenting podcast, providing inspiration and actionable steps to manifest the meaningful and magical life you desire for you and your family.Shaista Fatehali:
We are your hosts dimple, Aurora, founder and mindful evolution and shape the daily founder of Thrive kids.Dimple Arora:
Thank you for sharing the I am mom journey with us. Let's get started. Hey, and welcome back. Thank you for being here. So now that we're in the month of August, as a mom, you may be feeling some heightened anxiety about getting prepared for the back to school transition for the entire family. So today, we're going to provide some strategies and concepts to be mindful of in order to manage the transition back to school. For everyone involved, it's important for you to feel supported for your child and your children to feel supported, as well as anyone else that's involved in their care. And this year, the transition is going to look different for everyone.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, exactly. And the transition is so different because of the restrictions lifting from COVID, right. And the day to day functions are seemingly becoming more normal. So every year there are bouts of anxiety coupled with excitement with back to school, for both students and parents and teachers, I should I should I just well, but, um, this year, because there happened so many changes in the past year, and now these changes are seemingly becoming back to normal, it's leaving a lot of uncertainty, right. So then this adds to the anxiety that parents, students, teachers may be already having. And also, we can't forget that this past year, there has been in many families a significant loss that has that has been experienced. So this added trauma can already add to this growing concerns of mental health of our children.Dimple Arora:
Absolutely, and this year, the focus needs to be on emotional and mental health and reducing the anxiety around the transition and academics as well, right, because many parents are concerned that their child has fallen behind somehow academically. And that is not the case everyone is going to be in the same boat. Right? And the catch up will happen. And to be honest, I wouldn't even call it a catch up. I would just accept where they are in the moment.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, and they think that what what happened last year, like it seems as though or even like, around 2020, mid, mid March 2020. School, still carried on just not learning, I should say still carried on just not in the traditional way of going to a classroom, right. So that's why many parents are wondering if their child is behind academically and socially, there was definitely a loss of classroom time. But the learning never stopped for children. And this learning looked a lot different, right? So through this pandemic, different skills are brought out, right like collaboration, a lot of soft skills, we talk about creativity, problem solving, empathy, all of those kinds of skills were really highlighted this past year. But there are ways to encourage the school readiness for our kids. And one of the best ways to do that is to actually play with our children. Right. So allowing structured unstructured time, this is going to really provide some opportunity for your children to have moments of looking at emotional regulation, literacy and math even. And really setting them up a little bit more for school readiness, if that's something you're concerned about.Dimple Arora:
Absolutely, and not to mention the amount of emotional resilience that each family has gained during this time of the pandemic. And it's a beautiful time to teach our children about Change and transitioning out of adversity and managing adversity. Right. So. So academics, really, I would encourage parents not to make academics the focus right at the beginning of the school year, right. And they need to kids need to manage the transition, the entire family needs to the transition needs to be managed for the entire family. And so emotional needs I feel needs to be the focus,Shaista Fatehali:
emotional needs, and I think added to that is the executive functioning skills as well. Absolutely. So things like and for those that are not sure what executive functioning skills, it's includes things like being able to remember bits of information, Master impulses, that's a huge one staying focused thinking before acting. And also, this is a really big one, the capacity to switch gears and adjust. So those types of skills definitely need to be mastered and honed in before even academic skills can be fully fully understood and conceptualized. Right? Because think about it, if if something happens all of a sudden, and the kids have to be out of school again. And they don't have the capacity to deal with this with being able to adjust to the circumstance and situation or have the emotional resilience, are they going to be able to perform academically?Dimple Arora:
Mm hmm. Right. And during the summer, some families had working parents and kids were confined to the home. So there was a lot of video game action going on and a lot of screen time. So that also impacts the executive function of a child. And so what we want to do is, is get them to transition in a way where they, they're able to get out of playing video games as much like not as much screen time, and maybe the last week or so before school starts and get them outside and playing and moving a lot. Because their brain is still going to be looking for stimulation. And the way it's going to show up when they go back to school is through having less patience, they're going to be fidgety, they're not going to be able to sit still, they're not going to have that kind of focus. So getting them outside to play, as you mentioned, getting them lots of movement, and even bringing in some books, and during the month of August and making reading a little bit of a ritual during the day.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, you know that that's beautiful. And that really leads me into exploring literacy and numeracy concepts, right. And even though academics should maybe shouldn't be the focus at the start, when they do go to school, academics will be the focus. So it is really important for our children to be able to become aware of that, right and get introduced to that. And not in a sense where, okay, I'm going to go get this workbook from Costco, and you're going to sit down and do it. But more so in the sense of how it can be naturally Whoa, whoo, woven throughout the day, woven so like, you know what I mean, like interspersed throughout the day. Right? So letting go have this concept that education can only happen in a structured formal classroom of between these, these four walls, right and making it part of everyday routines. Like if you are making breakfast, you can add in some literacy and numeracy concepts, bedtime stories, but books, as you mentioned, right? Building vocabulary is you can build vocabulary pretty much with anything that you're doing throughout the day.Dimple Arora:
Mm hmm. And I think the important thing is to explain to kids what to expect? Yes, definitely. Right. So explain to them that we are going to maybe start transitioning back to school, and this is what we're going to do to prepare our brains for getting back to school, we may have to lessen the screen time we may have to get outside more like whatever it is to help them understand that there is a period of transition and a change. about to happen. So prepare them for what to expect, what protocols will be in place, what type of routine they're going to have in the morning. So speaking them through that routine, especially the kids that have already have heightened anxiety. So knowing what to expect and what comes next. And even practicing that even maybe practicing that a few days before school and having them visualize that and visualize themselves being successful at that morning routine.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, no, for sure. And, you know, it adds to the whole predictability aspect of motion, right. So when you are talking through the day that they most likely will have, you are giving them some structure and predictability, which will help them to feel comforted. And when they're comforted, they're going to feel less anxiety, because there is so much uncertainty, one activity that I really, that I encourage a lot of parents to do when they have children going into kindergarten. But I am now suggesting for all parents to do because of this uncertainty is to have a picnic lunch at the school playground. Oh, and even then, using the same containers that you're they're going to be using or lunch bento boxes, or whatever it may be at school right at that playground, because now they're in the environment that they're going to be in. And then you're using the same materials that they're going to be using, with guided support. So you're kind of scaffolding this right, for when they do go to school and go back into this routine, it's going to be a little less anxiety provoking, right? Because you've already built some certainty and predictability around that. Well, that'sDimple Arora:
a fun activity. I mean, it takes some work on our part. But yeah, but it's so fun thought it's a fun activity. And you know, I always remember back to school being a fun time when I was growing up, because we were getting our school supplies, we were getting these new clothes. So it's important to create these fun back to school memories for the kids as Yeah,Shaista Fatehali:
absolutely. And that energy, really will will move, right. So when you're really excited, your kids will see that you're really excited. Right? Another really great tip and I found this actually as a teacher. So I always encourage that. Remember, I teach kindergarten, right? So a lot of the kids perhaps haven't had schooling and trust can be an issue. And this is now applicable to all children in whatever grade they're going to. But when the parent vocalizes and says to their child, I trust and the teacher's name. What will happen is the child will automatically trust the teacher. amazing sense of calm and relief. And I've seen this time and time and again, particularly with children who have experienced trauma. When their parents say to them, I trust Miss Cobb, they call me Miss Kaba, but I trust Miss Kaba Miss Kaba is your teacher and she will be there for you. The next day. They come in so much more happier and comforted because they're their parents have provided that for them.Dimple Arora:
All that's a really great tip. Because that trust is so important for those younger kids. And I want to ask you, what is your take on the whole, like the kids who may be wearing masks, right? So for the younger kids, they rely so much on facial recognition and reading emotions through facial expression. So how would you suggest parents address that?Shaista Fatehali:
So I think the biggest thing is to address it as it is. And it is difficult, right? And I think that when you're honest about that, that you know, when you do go to school, you will be seeing your teacher and perhaps some of your peers wearing masks, and it's going to be difficult to hear them. It's going to be difficult to look at their faces, but you will figure out strategies to, to understand what they are communicating, right? I have noticed this particularly with babies, like, I don't know how, but they are able to realize when you are smiling at them, even with the mask, oh, because they can be ended up reading the eyes, right, they end up reading the eyes. And then they also pick up more on the tone of voice.Dimple Arora:
Exactly tone of voice then becomes very important. And body language becomes more important, exactly how we're using our arms and how we're using our eyes. And we're hand gestures, that GleeShaista Fatehali:
so even though it is challenging over time, I have seen kids adapt, and then they're able to go into more of a, it becomes I know this is used a lot, but it's very true. It becomes their new normal. Right?Dimple Arora:
Yeah. And it just goes to show the the beautiful ability of the human humaneness to adapt to any situation that you're put in.Shaista Fatehali:
Exactly. And I think lastly to the energy, right, then we've talked about that, but the energy that teachers give off, and teachers love their job and love being around kids, and they're trying their best to service all of these kids and their love will shine through with the mask or not, and the kids will pick up on it.Dimple Arora:
Yeah, for sure. I mean, energy is so contagious, and so transferable, and we know that. So the other thing too, is want to talk a little bit about the other people involved in our children's care, after school, so it may be the after school care program, it may be grandparents, it may be a babysitter. What's going to happen after school is not always pretty, right. Because all day these kids have been putting on a brave face, they have been told what to do, they have been told to sit down to, you know, do this eat your lunch that time. And you know, go to the bathroom this time and wash your hands multiple times. So they might have a lot that they're holding in, during the day. So after school is when we may see things like meltdowns.Shaista Fatehali:
Absolutely, yeah. And every year, I always warn parents about this right so that they are prepared for it, it's going to happen. And I will always get parents saying oh my gosh, like I'll get two things either. So and so is asleep by six o'clock. or so and so is having a really hard time at home. And when I dig deeper, it's because they are letting out their their emotions, right? It is a safe place. And they're letting their emotions out because they know that they're going to be unconditionally supported and loved. And it happens, always happens at the beginning of the school year. And it's sometimes it's hard for parents to see because they think sometimes Maybe something happened at school. But really what it is, is just they're adjusting to this transition and this new newness.Dimple Arora:
Exactly. And I'm so glad that you prepare parents for that because whether the kids are young or even if they're older, it for older kids, it may show up as going to their room and slamming the door it may show up as being silent at dinner time or not wanting to talk to anyone or wanting to be alone, or it may show up as them coming home and just wanting to vege in front of the TV. Right so or giving some type of attitude, or backtalk whatever it is, it's it may show up that way because they're just trying to process what they've been through all day, which is keeping on this brave face.Shaista Fatehali:
I think this is such a good point. Because as parents, we want to just fix it right? And at that moment, all the all that the child needs is space and an understanding from the parent that Okay, you know what, this is what's happening and I'm just going to be either be with my child, or allow my child to have that space if that is what they need.Dimple Arora:
Yeah, and whatever their outlets are. Maybe they like painting or they need to go shoot some hoops or whatever it is, whatever their outlets are, it's healthy for them to engage in those healthy outlets. But we don't want to be over scheduling our kids too much when school starts, because they are going to be going through a huge change. This year, some students are returning back to school after it after online learning for a year and a half. Right and to be in an environment where there's other people, other people sharing their energy and their space. And so not over scheduling them is I want all parents to be mindful of that of what your the capacity of your child is, and go less CO less than their capacity.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, September is such a busy to if seems like September, like everything starts on the same day. You have this like easygoing summer, and then all of a sudden one day bam. And so that can overstimulate children. And it can overstimulate the whole family really, right, because now all of a sudden, as parents, we have this, pick them up, drop them here, and it just becomes this this hamster wheel, right. So allowing this some time for them, because we are now going to be prepared for this. This expectation that they do need this time to process some of their emotions and feelings. And so having less of a schedule is going to help with that processing. For sure. Absolutely. AndDimple Arora:
the last thing I wanted to touch upon here is preparing their immune systems for the school year. So it's been great that they've been out in the sun over the summer, hopefully, they have been and they've been getting that vitamin D, I would suggest a vitamin D supplement for all kids in the Northern Hemisphere, to be honest, at this point, because we don't know how much vitamin D, they're able to absorb getting out in the sun, because usually they're covered up, they're wearing sunscreen, you know, so that vitamin D is really, really important to keep their immune system healthy. I know there's a lot of ice cream and a lot of sugar going on during the summer months, which is great. Yeah. Same thing happening in our house here to cotton candy and you know, ice cream truck and all that stuff. But come September, we got to be mindful of their sugar intake, and what their their gut health and just making sure that they're drinking enough water that they're not constipated, because all of that is going to play into their immune system and the health of their immune system. So getting some fruits in there for the vitamin C, getting the veggies in there and making sure that they are they are prepared. their immune systems are prepared for what's to come. I'm not sure how our bodies will react this year, our kids haven't been around very many germs. Right. So we don't know what are our bodies have probably have less immunity at this time, to be honest.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah. And I think it's really important to be mindful of thatDimple Arora:
and resetting their sleep, because a lot of times a sleep schedule goes out the door for during the summer months as well. So resetting their sleep a week or two before school starts is really going to help get their circadian rhythm back on track.Shaista Fatehali:
Mm hmm. Exactly. Yeah. And, you know, lastly, I think it's really important also just to acknowledge that if your child has been at home for the past year, whether it's homeschooling or online or hybrid or what not. There will be some separation anxiety, right? And separation anxiety. A lot of times people think that only younger kids go through this. But older kids go through this too. Right? They will, as you said before, it may show up differently. And the one thing about separation anxiety is to acknowledge it right and say to your child, you know, I understand I understand that you are worried and this upcoming school year may be a little bit different. And it's normal to have these anxious thoughts and these feelings. So you're validating their their nerves, right and you're validating that anxiety. And for those kids who are having a really hard time with separation. I always suggest to have some sort of routine like a goodbye room. It's nothing that needs to be shared publicly, right. And it's again, not just for young kids, but for older kids too. Whatever it is, like I know some. I've had some kids like during my past summer camp that did older kids at 1112 years old, and they have this special handshake, right with their parents. And that signified for them. Okay, I know it's time for me to go on my own. But I know that we will come back together at the end of the day, right. And for younger kids, you know, maybe they want a kiss on the cheek or a hug or a confident the most important thing is a confident and loving goodbye from you is going to help your child feel safe. And know that you believe they will be okay.Dimple Arora:
Such a good point. I mean, even as moms, we have separation anxiety. Yeah, especially after this past year and a half. I know I will be having some Yeah. And, and managing it myself. So I love that tip that you gave oggy. And I have a routine every year on the first day of school when she was going to school. I would give her something to keep in her pocket. So she felt that I was with her.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, that's such a such a wonderful tip. Another really good idea, as I often get my kindergarten students to do this, if they're having a more difficult time adjusting is to bring in pictures,Shaista Fatehali:
their family, and if they need to take breaks during the day. They look at those pictures, right? Oh, yeah,Dimple Arora:
it really helps. It really helps. And I love that Agus grade one teacher, when she was in grade one did settle in time, at the beginning of the day, so that they don't just rush into the classroom and get right into it. There's this time to just adjust to the dance. Yes,Shaista Fatehali:
I always it's a it's a soft startDimple Arora:
a soft start. Exactly. So with that being said, we hope that this has been helpful for you. And so the key here is to make sure that you are mentally managing your anxiety. How you show up is going to affect how your child feels about back to school. And we want to be creating these, you know, good memories to get them ready, get their immune system ready, get their emotional backpacks ready, I guess their physical and emotional backpacks ready and understand that it's going to be a soft start. For everyone involved and encouraging that soft start. Yeah, andShaista Fatehali:
for everyone, just as you said right, even for teachers and teachers are, are aware it's going to be a different year. So they will be prepared. Absolutely. Thank you for joining us, and we will talk to you next time. Bye.Dimple Arora:
Thank you for joining us on the IM mom parenting journey. If you enjoyed today's episode, please follow us and head on over to iTunes to leave us a review.Shaista Fatehali:
We invite you to check out the show notes for this episode, and click on the link to join our free Facebook community to stay connected and continue the conversation with other like minded moms.