Transitioning back to school - Mid-Pacific Institute

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Transitioning back to school

Posted on August 14, 2016

by Ms. Abe on August 14, 2016

Welcome back to school! I was so happy to see the children again and meet the new students.

I have been discussing the word "transition" with many of the classes. Times of transition can involve many different feelings. Thus we acknowledged what we missed: "I miss my old class...I miss the beach...I miss Japan...I miss sleeping in...I miss my mom." When we feel sad about something we're leaving, it can help us feel better to think about what makes us happy in the present: "PE...CE...Art...math...friends...recess." It can also help to talk about what we are looking forward to in the future: "Seeing my brother...the weekend...my birthday...Ho'olaulea."

Starting a new school year may be akin to starting a new job for adults. Do you remember how you felt? You have to learn the new rules of the environment. For children, this is in respect to even basic logistics like going to the bathroom (Do I sign my name before leaving? Do I take a lanyard?), to remembering where all your belongings go (backpacks on the shelf outside, homework folder in the bin, water bottle on the counter). This is not to mention figuring out all the new social interactions with your boss/teacher and coworkers/classmates (Which coworker seems friendly enough to answer my questions? Whom should I eat lunch with?).

Change may cause stress in one's body, because of sustained heightened awareness of trying to figure out one's new environment and trying to remember new information. Stress can make us more tired than usual. This is on top of students possibly waking up earlier than vacation in order to get to school on time. Also, no one had 20 other people in his bedroom for seven hours every day over vacation. I read some research that even people who are naturally extroverted need more rest after being with many others.

Thus, please watch your schedule the next couple weeks. If your child seems tired or grouchier than usual, it's ok to miss an afterschool activity here or there. Your child may need more "down time" afterschool, or more hugs. He may need to go to bed earlier than usual. (I have done entire blogs on the importance of sleep - the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 9-12 hours of sleep for children of elementary age. It is imperative your child (and you!) get enough sleep for optimal physical and emotional health.)

Remember to be more forgiving with yourself as well. You, too, are getting used to the new schedule, like waking up earlier to make your child's snack and driving through the traffic to drop him off at school before you go to work (although thank God UH hasn't started yet!).

Here's to a great year!

Lori Abe