It's time to expect transition behaviors!
And here's what I mean:
School’s about to start (or has started).
That’s a major transition.
Transitions are stressful.
Stress is in the air.
Your child is picking it up like a barometer picks up a storm.
You can expect your child’s behaviors, like not listening, regression, and opposition to ramp up!
Whether your child is excited about school or distressed about school, I want you to EXPECT difficult behaviors to show up at this time of transition and be prepared. Stay away from the strategy of wishful thinking that this time it will be different. You’ve got this!
As you navigate this time of year, with all that's going on in the world, keep in mind the ABC’s.
A - Ask a different question. When you ask what’s driving the behavior and tune into the fact that this is transition you will know enough about what’s happening to understand that your child is using behavior to communicate stress, overwhelm or anxiety.
B - Be present to connect. When your child is feeling anxious they need you to be a calming presence, an anchor for their difficult and big emotions. From a connected place it is easier to feel calm and confident about what to do next.
C - Control. This is not about controlling your child or letting your child control you. It’s about giving your child agency and simple concrete ways to help them feel more in control of situations they have no control over. Feeling some control decreases anxiety and thus, diminishes difficult behavior. This might look like having your child set their own timer, or giving them a choice of two acceptable options - Do you want a green backpack or a red one? or Do you want to brush your teeth first or put on your PJ’s. Whatever their age, ask yourself, “What can I give my child control over in this situation in a way that’s acceptable?”
I know you also have great tools in your toolbox. I’d love to hear your ideas for supporting predictability and agency so I can share them with other parents.
You’ve got this!