I serve appeared to be overwhelmed. I too felt more stressed this spring. As I
thought about it, I realized that many of us were feeling emotionally drained
for the same reasons. We were going through one of life's transition; preparing
"our babies" for their next step.
My daughter, Katie, our youngest child, graduated from high school this month. Over the past six months, we have spent an extraordinary amount of time visiting college campus', completing paperwork/applications, attending meetings/events, comparing academic curriculums, deciding which college to attend, etc. All of these demands took a toll on us, as they came with their own timelines and were in addition to our usual day-to-day responsibilities. As I thought about many of the parents I work with, I realized they were going through the same kinds of stresses with their own child as they went through the transition process for Kindergarten or for another new program. As parents, we were all experiencing:
- Letting go of the safe, familiar relationships and environments that have been so supportive to our children over the past few years.
- Saying good-bye to old friends, classmates, teachers, etc., while trying to hold a space for new relationships.
- Letting go of the predictability of the past, and dealing with the uncertainty of the future.
- Trying to obtain as much information as possible to determine the ideal program for our child.
- Spending a lot of time planning for tomorrow, while trying to meet the obligations of today.
- As our children get older, they need new challenges, so they can become more independent. Often new programs offer new challenges to help our children stretch.
- New teachers, students, and environments can bring with them renewed energy, different approaches, and an excitement for learning!
- Preparing our children for their next step (new program) will ensure their success. Take pictures of their new school. Write a letter to the classroom teacher letting her/him know the important details about your child (What makes them feel anxious? How do you know they are feeling anxious? What is calming to them? What do they enjoy doing? etc.) Ask to take pictures of the classroom, gym, cafeteria, library, playground, etc. after they are set-up for the fall, so you can talk about them with your child. Get information about the classroom's daily schedule. Create a visual schedule to help your child "see" what will happen each day. Write a social story about his/her new adventure and how successful s/he is going to be.
- Once you have your prepatory supports in place, let go and trust that your child is ready for this next step and will be well supported by caring individuals. Your trust and confidence will provide re-assurance to your child.
- Relax and enjoy this beautiful summer!
is for a general purposes only, and is not intended to take the place of
professional therapy services or the advice of professionals who have
evaluated, or are currently working with your child. Please consult your
child's speech therapist to determine, if the information shared would be helpful to your child.