Questions and conversations to have with your child or teen as we head towards the new school year.
As the Bank Holiday approaches here in the UK, many of us are turning our thoughts to the new school term and new school year, what that will mean for our children and teens. In normal circumstances, there’s some anxiety and of course excitement. But this year……? I’m picking up a lot of anxiety and not much excitement.
For those of you with anxious children, I’ve put together some conversation ideas to help you. Pick the ones you think will work best with your child or teen and tweak the wording to suit them without altering the style of questioning which is deliberately positive, curious and designed to stimulate their imagination. Also use your intuition, these are YOUR children. Trust your instincts.
What are you looking forward to about going back to school?
· What will be fun?
· Who are you looking forward to seeing?
· What are you looking forward to doing?
· What will be new and interesting?
What if you could manifest what you want? When we imagine a positive outcome and picture it happening, what we will see hear and feel, it is much more likely to happen.
Some children love to do art and craft, so maybe make a vision board for the new term.
Think about what you want for the new term. Cut out pictures and words from old magazines and arrange them on a sheet of card. Put it up in your room. Put a photo of it on your phone.
I find children and teens like to do affirmations before school if they’re feeling a bit wobbly.
Here are some that might work but as I say, tweak as appropriate for your child or leave them to make up their own.
I am friendly and popular
I like to take part in group activities
I am kind and caring
I like to be helpful
I do what the teacher asks
I find it easy to concentrate in lessons
I know I will understand if I really focus hard
Every day is a learning opportunity
I feel great
How confident do you feel about the challenges of the new school year on a scale of 0-10?
What could you do to increase that score?
What are you good at, what are your skills and qualities and how could you apply them to boost that score?
When you think about other challenges you’ve had recently, what have you learnt that might help?
Some challenges can be exciting, what do you think will be exciting about the challenges of the next school year?
This is a slide from my Junior NLP programme course to help kids use the skills they already have!
Things don’t always go to plan, so prepare your child or teen by giving them a very useful word
JUST - This can be used to minimise the effect of things that have gone wrong
“It was just a silly mistake”
“It is just a wobble, it will pass”
And one to avoid is:
DON'T - You know the expression, ‘Don’t think of pink elephants’
All you can think of is pink elephants of course as you have to imagine one to know what it is you are not to think of!
“Don’t be anxious”
“Don’t forget to…..”
“Don’t forget your …….”
Are not helpful.
Instead replace that with ‘Remember to ……..’ or ‘Have a good day!’
Another way to help your child is to encourage them to break the day into bite size chunks, taking each hour one at a time or each lesson or break-time. That way the day doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
Remind them to remember to tell you about what went well. Sometimes when children know you’re worried about them, they focus on what didn’t go so well and focus on it “I must remember to tell mum about this”. Focusing on what didn’t go well will cloud the whole day. If your child does tell you about something that wasn’t great, here are some ways to respond.
How did that happen?
What did you do next?
How did you resolve that?
What did you take that to mean?
How do you know that?
What will you do about it?
Do you need any help with this?
Children just want to be heard, understood and have their feelings accepted. They don’t necessarily need you to sort it out. Assume they have an idea of what they can do and let them know that if they need you to step in and help them, you will.
Lastly, when you send them off in the morning, send them with positive encouraging words and think positive thoughts about them all day. I know this sounds a bit ‘woo woo’ but when we think positive loving thoughts and imagine sending these to our children, they do actually feel that positivity. Greet them with a happy face that assumes they’ve had a good day.