As the lazy, hazy days of summer wound down in August, the “Back to School” commercials began in full force. TV and print advertisements from major retailers showed smiling students and adults buying colorful backpacks and school supplies . This is in contrast to the past two years when TV brought no shortage of bad news about the global pandemic, its impact on education, and news about horrific school shootings. It’s not just a commercial, we do have the ability to help our kids move through this school year with a positive mindset.
Now that we are into September and the school year is underway, one of the most important things we can do with our students is talk with them. Engage in dialogue about what they are excited about, what concerns they have, and their overall thoughts and feelings about the upcoming year. Nervousness, excitement, anxiety, and anticipation can make up a child’s emotional mix at the start of the year. Open conversations will help identify and address any negative thoughts or feelings that our kids may harbor. Conversations will help our students focus on strengths and internal and external resources .
Remind them of times when they showed grit, recovered from a poor grade, navigated a tricky peer situation, or made a new friend. Revisiting the past will reinforce that those skills are still present inside of them and ready to be used when needed. For teens, often you will help them by simply lending an ear and listening to their concerns.