There’s no doubt about it, HSCs thrive on having a regular routine.
And that’s all well and good … But sometimes, try as you might, routine isn’t something you can control.
Like after summer vacation.
You know this as well as anyone, but small changes can bring about BIG reactions in sensitive kids.
They can get stuck in overwhelm, descend into a shutdown cycle, or go into full-on meltdowns, just from the tiniest change in schedule.
Meaning for many parents, getting back into a routine post-Summer is a nightmare.
And what might seem like a small change to you (or even to most kids) feels like their world is ending to an HSC.
It doesn’t matter if you revert to the exact same routine they had a couple of months back, they find adjustment super difficult.
And that can lead to a 3-hour marathon argument every morning.
Or begging and pleading to get them to get up and get dressed.
Or maybe they even start acting up at school, because they just can’t cope.
So how do you go about easing your kid back into the school routine post-Summer?
Well, let’s start by talking about what not to do.
A lot of well-meaning parents make the mistake I’m about to share with you, because on paper, it makes sense.
Yet in reality, it doesn’t make the situation any better. And if anything, it actually makes things a whole lot worse…
What am I talking about?
Trying to teach your kid in the moment.
It’s natural to do this, because you want to help.
But when your kiddo is struggling -- whether they’re fighting, yelling, or you can just see they’re really feeling the strain of the routine change -- they’re not open to learning.
That’s because at this point, they’re in a loop of feeling broken.
And so whatever advice you give them, they’re going to see that as a criticism, and just more validation that there’s something ‘wrong’ with them.
Clearly, your intentions are good.
But in their head, that’s not how they see it.
They just start thinking -
“I can’t do it.”
“I can’t do it.”
“I can’t do it.”
And they shut down through overwhelm.
That’s why your first step needs to be to dilute the shame.
Help them understand there’s nothing wrong with feeling scared or anxious about switching back to a school routine.
We’re all human, and we all have emotions.
Your kiddo needs to know this, and also know it’s okay.
So that’s the first thing.
The second thing is, you want to help them build capacity.
What do I mean by that?
Well, you want them to have the confidence to believe they can handle this.
They should know things might not always go 100% to plan … But that’s okay.
Or that getting back to being in class, seeing friends they’ve maybe not seen since the Spring, or even stuff like homework isn’t always going to be easy …
But they’re strong enough to roll with the punches, and handle whatever the new school year throws at them.
Once you have those in place, then you can think about the physical aspects of routine.
In an ideal world, your vacation routine wouldn’t have changed that much from the school year.
And in an ideal world, you’d be able to get back into ‘school mode’ with no blips.
But this isn’t an ideal world!
You probably did more fun activities over the summer.
Maybe they stayed up late. Or they woke up every morning super excited about the day ahead.
And so your routine changed to accommodate that.
That’s why, if you’re fighting and arguing over routine, recognize it’s okay to start small.
Don’t try to get back into your old routine all at once.
Pick one or two simple things you can do -- whether that’s around them brushing their teeth, eating breakfast, or getting their books ready -- and work on nailing that.
Once they’re okay doing this, introduce something else.
And repeat that cycle until you’re back to the regular school morning routine.
All the while, remembering what I mentioned about not trying to teach in the moment, and empowering them to believe they have the coping skills to see things through.
Look, I know this isn’t easy.
I can give you all the best theoretical advice, and things still might not go to plan.
But my team and I are here for you.
You can always reach out.
And, if you want to talk about how we can help you personally develop an awesome routine for your kiddo, and help with the unique challenges that come with parenting an HSC …
Book a call with my team today: https://www.megghanthompsoncoaching.com/talk
For families with high school aged teens: https://www.megghanthompsoncoaching.com/teentalk