Life transitions seems to be happening everywhere.
I have friends who kids are off to college, someone I know is getting ready for retirement, some are welcoming new job positions, new babies, a new sibling added to the the mix. And then, there is the new school year. So many kids have already started. My son started back 2 weeks ago, but this week is is first full week--he's in 1st grade. 1ST GRADE!!!!!! How in the world is that even possible? (See my post from last year when he started Kindergarten.) I don’t know.
And, though there are times I think I wish there was a way to slow him down, at the very same time, I’m excited about all the changes; the things he’s learning, the relationship with his little sister. There Is nothing like seeing them laugh together, play together...get into trouble together. They have a way of copying each other and doing things they’ve been asked not to do. People warned me that there was too much of age gap (4 years and 2 weeks, to be exact), so they would probably not be close. All I know is that, right now, they are close. They seem to adore each other most times. And when my son starts school this week, I know that it will not only be a transition for him being in school all day, but also for her because her buddy will be gone most the day.
Before my daughter was born, we had talked a lot to my son about what it might be like, what feelings he might have. That sometimes he might not even like that she “moved in”. It was a big change for him. Now, I’m anticipating a similar conversation happening with our daughter, only this time, instead of a new person being added, a beloved person in her life (and mine!) will be around a lot less.
All big changes take time to adjust. Remember to:
Be gentle on yourself. Be gentle with others it transitions are affecting as well. We all have different reactions to things. Express different feelings. Some of us might cry when a child starts school (I’m not naming any names :-)) Some of us might be angry and act out. It’s important to acknowledge our different feelings and name them.
Provide support or seek support where needed. Especially when children are young we need to provide a some emotion coaching. Model for them how to express their feelings. Put words to what they may be feeling so that they learn how to talk about it. Give lots of love to them and to yourself.
And, of course, my favorite thing is to practice self-care. It seems easy to do, but I know there are a lot of people out there that don’t do it (at least on a regular basis). Do something nice for yourself. Change up the routine to boost your energy or shake off a bad mood. Treat your child to some special one-on-one time. Add a little sweetness to the transition.
So, for my part, I vow to savor the extra one-on-one time with my daughter and lapping up every minute when my son comes home and recaps his day. I will let them have those tough moments of resistance and give them space to feel and talk about it. I’ll even let myself cry when I need to. And, maybe I’ll even squeeze in a pedicure or coffee with a friend, because why not?
How do you address change in your family, at your home? I’d love to hear about your favorite rituals, tips and tricks! Leave them in the comments or shoot me an email at Catherine@HappyWithBaby.com.