Disclosure: This post is in partnership with GoodNites. As always, opinions are all mine.
Summer is finally coming to a close which means it’s time forthe back-to-school! For us, that means getting the kids back to a routine, but it also means getting Justin who just turned 4 on September 9th ready for something he has never done before. Going to Kindergarten.
Not only is he ready emotionally, but he is physically too. He was one of our longest to be potty-trained. He took a bit longer, but I didn’t mind because I always make sure to go at my kids own pace when it comes to potty-training. I take their cues, and although that sometimes does take a bit longer, I find it to be very successful and not having any stress, or unwanted emotions where the toilet is concerned makes the whole process for everyone more enjoyable.
Take it from someone who has now potty-trained six kids; They will use the toilet when they are ready. Once they are ready, they’ll do it quickly too!
In preparation for Justin heading to school for the first time, I was given the chance to ask Michele Kambolis, 20-year veteran as a Child and Family Therapist, some questions about getting our freshly potty-trained little ones ready for the big day, and how to find signs of stress or distress where the school is concerned. It is super important for kids to have an uninterrupted sleep, so they are focused and able to learn and grow at school!
Me: What are some ways to identify any stress or back to school jitters in first-time school goers? And how can we make it less stressful for them?
Michele: While some first-time school goers seem to adjust to back to school without a hitch, others can be filled with apprehension and anxiety. As their minds attempt to process all these unknowns, active fantasy worlds can fuel fears and irrational thoughts about what it’s going to be like. Keep in mind, whenever our child faces the unexpected their brain naturally triggers the fight or flight response – front-loading a child with information helps quell the fears of the unknown.
So, check in with your little one to find out what they’re feeling; let them know not only that you understand, but also that their feelings are natural (after all, most of us feel discomfort in a new situation). Then, tell the story of what they can expect in their day with as many details as possible. When children create a positive imagination of themselves in a new situation their mind experiences that as real – use the power of play and story to empower them in the face of change.
Me: What can we as parents look for in our kids to ensure they are prepared and ready for the coming school year without putting too much pressure on them?
Michele: First-time school goers can react to these big changes quite differently and those responses depend on a whole host of different of factors. Temperament, whether an older sibling has been to the school, previous exposure to educational settings and developmental readiness can all play a part.
Keep in mind, when a child is struggling with adjustments to the new school year they may not have the verbal capacity to express what’s happening within. So, look for the covert signs of imbalance; behaviour changes, headaches or stomach aches, withdrawal, increased fears or sadness, and sleep problems are all signs of built up stress.
Help your child put words to what they’re feeling, tell stories of times they’ve faced new challenges and overcome them and empower them with your unwavering support even if that means pulling back on other commitments for awhile.
Me: Is there any routine at bedtime parents can do to make a smoother transition from summer to back to school?
Michele: A good nights sleep is critical to a child’s well being – in fact, studies show it’s the gateway to their mind-body health. Without it children face not only a cranky day; it impacts their cognitive capacity, making it difficult to focus, remember and learn. Along with re-establishing a consistent bedtime well in advance of the school start date, there’s a great deal parents can do to help ensure a healthy sleep life.
First, create a clear line between daytime and sleep time. While our child’s body doesn’t rest on demand, we can help by sending a signal to their brain that it’s time to move into rest. Mark the transition by putting away technology and opting for low arousal activity like listening to music or coloring.
Help your child offload the emotional build up of the day by doing gentle yoga, deep breathing or mindfulness activities. Draw on resources like chischool.ca or the APP Headspace for ideas on how to bring mindfulness tools into your family’s routine. Then, help your child practice the kind of optimistic thinking that will help them move into a good nights sleep; practice statements like ‘my mind and body are relaxed’ and ‘I’m ready for whatever tomorrow brings’.
Keep in mind that for 1 out of 6 children sleep can be interrupted by nighttime wetting. Since interventions such as nighttime waking aren’t shown to be effective and only interrupt critical sleep time, ensure your child is getting a full and uninterrupted nights sleep with tools like Goodnites Bedtime Pants. You’re child will start their school year far happier with a full nights sleep and dry comfy sheets and PJ’s.Finally, falling asleep doesn’t come easy for many children.
Finally, falling asleep doesn’t come easy for many children. Building attachment with calm and patient reactions, even when your exhausted yourself, is the biggest tool you have to ensure your child falls asleep feeling comforted and relaxed.
Now, armed with all this new information – I am confident Justin will do great in Kindergarten. With the help of GoodNites, I know his nights will be dry and his mornings will be confident.
If you are like us and looking for a good nighttime bedwetting solution, GoodNites® Bedtime Pants help your child feel secure and relaxed before bed, while allowing them to sleep through the night. Justin is confident and happy to put on his GoodNites® Bedtime pants as they don’t look or feel like typical sleep underpants – they make him feel comfortable, confident and ready to go to sleep at night while giving me comfort knowing I won’t have to wash bedding every day.
GoodNites are specially designed for nighttime, GoodNites® Bedtime Pants offer double leg barriers to help prevent leaks and a five-layer protection to keep your child dry all night. With super stretchy sides and fun Disney designs, your child will love feeling comfortable and confident all night long.
What do you find helps get your little ones prepared and confident for back-to-school?