Life Lessons by Erin Kincaid: Getting back to school, back in the groove

Life Lessons by Erin Kincaid:  Getting back to school, back in the groove

Rockwall, TX (August 10, 2023) – We all know summer is quickly coming to a close. Back-to-school shopping is in full swing along with preparations for after-school activities, busy schedules and all that this return to academics brings. For some, we cannot wait to get back in the classroom or to see our littles walk with their backpacks into their schools. For others, this is when the moaning and groaning begins…for kids, parents, and teachers alike.

Whichever side of the joystick you fall on, let’s remind ourselves of some important factors as we help our kids, our teachers and ourselves get back into a rhythm.

First, schedules are hard to get back into. Give yourselves grace and a bit of mercy when getting into the swing of things. Remember, kids are not adults. For them, every new schedule is their first time doing this. Work and plan ahead to find a way you can help everyone, including yourself, succeed. This can be in preparing school bags and clothes the night before or eliminating too many activities at the beginning of the season to help everyone find the groove layer by layer. Take it step by step and find your cadence with as little anger and stress as possible.

Second, partner with your child’s teacher. If your child sees you are working with their educator, they will learn how to work within that team as well. I have heard from too many teachers, when it comes to an issue with a student, how parents attack before they ask. I used to make it a habit to reach out to the teacher with my child watching to let them know I was an ally and I wanted to help solve any problems that may arise during the year. It makes a huge impact on your child’s progress and relational esteem when they know you are all on the same team.

Third, work hard not to force your school experience on your child. Everyone has a different view and comfort level in a school setting. Listen to your child when they express they might not feel comfortable or want to do the same activities you found fun or rewarding. We live in a high-performance world and yes, we should expect great things from our kids, but it is important to remember they are not mini-yous; they are individuals with their own approach to learning. Learn to embrace and celebrate that.

Lastly, instill hope through learning. As a result of the pandemic, many kids see school as pointless, boring and something that can be canceled. This effect created an approach of learned hopelessness for many youngsters and teens. They “just don’t see the point.” But, we are agents of hope for our kids! We need to help them see the potential inside of them and that their school community, whether public, private or at home, is there to help them unlock. Make an effort at home to not only ask, “how was your day?” or “what did you learn?” but to dig into the layers. Find what may have interested them, and if that is not yet revealed, try to spend time learning alongside them for deeper discussion. This may mean you also go off the grid for a while each evening with the screen time and phones to allow for connection over what their day entailed. When we engage with our children, with a true sense of curiosity and interest, over time it will influence the way they look at their education and school career.

Here’s hoping you have a great kick off to the new school year and a blessed and fun-filled final days of summer!

Guest column by Erin Kincaid, Founder and Clinical Director of Rockwall Heath Counseling. She holds a host of degrees in Psychology, Christian Counseling, Anthropology and is working toward her PhD in Clinical Counseling.

Erin lives in Rockwall with her husband and son. Look for more of her guest columns here.