Thursday already? It is our first full week of Summer Break in Portland, and there have been some very rocky moments at our house as we transition into a new schedule. I notice that my clients and their children are experiencing some transition woes as well. It took a whining, flailing, crying, pouting 7 year old in my office on Tuesday to help me to connect some dots. Yes, my son had a fullscale melt-down last week when he thought that I said we were having asparagus for dinner, and then his 2 year old sister said matter of factly to me, “Mommy, I’m not crying, I’m not a baby” which sent him into the stratosphere. He screamed at his sister, lunging at her threateningly. Of course she burst into tears. I held her, sent him to his room for some cool down time, and just sat in the moment just taking it in. I realized that this emotional reaction was at the end of the first day off school, a full day at daycare, the day after he said goodbye to his beloved first grade teacher, who is retiring, and said goodbye to his classmates for the summer. His daily life is suddenly completely different after nine months of routine. And while there is a lot of excitement and positivity around completing first grade, or any grade for that matter, it is also the end of a chapter. My son expressed his feelings in an indirect way initially, blowing up over vegetables. Later, we talked about what is really going on. He is feeling sad that Mr. C. is retiring, and also he would rather stay home with me then go to daycare while I work.
Shifting into Summer Break requires some level of flexibility on all of our parts.
I am looking forward to summer with all my heart. I have my “sand pail” list of fun projects and activities my children and I plan to do between camping, daycare, working, backyard bbq’s and birthday parties. We have a two week camping road trip planned, as well as a couple weekends at the beach with grandma. With all this fun planned, I took for granted that it would be easy for my son to switch gears, however, kids handle transition differently. Some have an easier time then others. My 7 year old client has severe ADHD, and her teacher spent the whole year coaching her through daily transitions. Now she has been suddenly dropped off at a new summer school program where she knows no one, the schedule is different, the food is different. No wonder she is struggling to cope with her feelings. She is exhausted, overwhelmed, and sad.
How are you doing with the transition into summer break? How are your kids coping? I encourage you to take a moment to think about how you all deal with changes in routine, schedules and plans. Next post, I will offer up some ideas for helping your child (and yourself) manage transitions effectively!
Now get out and enjoy the sun while it is here!!!