The beginning of this school year brought many changes in the SYC office. Adele, our office manager and I had to learn to use a new email system as well as learn about and help build our new website during the first few weeks of September, which is normally already wildly busy just with the flurry and confusion of teacher prep week and the first weeks of school.
The computer changes will make things so much easier for us in the long run but in the short run, it’s put us behind in every area and we are having a hard time catching up. We are starting to round the corner now and our stress levels are slowly settling into a lower gear.
All this reminded me of how children feel at the beginning of the school year. They have to adjust to moving from summer schedules to being in a different physical environment as well as meeting new teachers and children! It’s an exciting time but, even if it is going well, all change brings stress.
When kids are stressed out, you might notice short-term behavioral changes—such as mood swings, acting out, changes in sleep patterns, or regressions like thumb sucking or toileting. Some kids experience physical effects, including stomachaches and headaches.
In times of stress, Mr. Rogers reminds us that it helps our children’s stress levels a lot when we adults work on our own stress levels. Here are some key points offered in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: (excerpted from “What Do You Do with the Stress that You Feel?” By Hedda Sharapan, http://www.fredrogers.org/pro-dev/november.html)
Be mindful: Slow down and take the time to focus on enjoying the small things. Think about how calming it can be when you take a moment to notice and appreciate the sky or a tree on your way to work or to focus on the texture and taste of the food you’re chewing.
Build relationships: Fred often said, “It’s through relationships that we grow best and learn best” – and that’s not just for children! Make time to be with your friends.
Have realistic expectations of ourselves: We all fall short of the mark sometimes. That’s just because we\’re human. Fred said: “The greatest loss we have to deal with is the loss of the image of ourselves as a perfect person.” Let’s be gentle on ourselves when we make mistakes. Fred often reminded us there are no perfect teachers, parents, or children – just human ones.
We are all affected by changes, but being surrounded by this wonderful community of families gives us so much support through our stresses and we hope that the SYC staff gives you the support your family needs throughout the year.