Keeping a Connection During School Time

For those who do not attend school year-round, October is the halfway point between kids returning to school and winter break. At this point you may feel used to their absence, but are missing them nonetheless! Even if you’re a parent of a child that returns home at night (such as an elementary, middle, or high schooler), you can still feel their absence during the day. With your child, teen, or young adult being gone so often, is it important to keep a strong connection with them? Research says yes! Kids that spend time with their family have a myriad of benefits, such as increased mental health, increased academic performance, less behavior problems, and increased confidence. Not to mention, kids that have plenty of family time are better prepared to start their own healthy families in the future. It’s no surprise that kids who feel connected to their family are better off in nearly all areas of life. It’s clear keeping a connection with your child during schooltime is important. Therapy Beyond Healing is here to help you keep that connection strong! Check out these tips for kids, teens, and college students on maintaining a strong connection during the school year. Connecting with Kids For children who are not teenagers, the priority is making them feel seen, heard, and safe. One of the ways to do this is to take their concerns seriously. As parents, we may feel frustrated with our child’s outbursts and want to shut them down as fast as possible. Similarly, we may feel that the reason they’re crying isn’t a big deal, or that they’re refusal to do something is just stubbornness to be corrected.  However, teaching children to ignore their feelings, suppress their emotions, and that they don’t have autonomy can lead to some serious little t trauma down the road. Instead, try parenting with intention today - accept they’re little individuals with big feelings sometimes, and they should be shown how to express those big feelings in a healthy way instead of being told to keep quiet and calm all the time. When they come home from school and have a bad day, one way to connect with them is to genuinely listen without caving in to our desire to be dismissive of things we don’t think are “big deals.” Connecting with Teenagers Teenagers - sometimes they love to hang out with you, and sometimes they would love nothing more than to live on an isolated island with their phone and their friends. However, the need to feel seen, heard, and safe doesn’t go away as your child ages. Teenagers, like children of any other age, need to know you value and accept them, especially as they go through emotional changes that are confusing for them, too. Most teenagers can articulate feelings and thoughts better than children can. To connect with your teen, try to start conversations with them with the intention of listening. Asking “how was your day?” may work for some teens; others may need something more prompting, like “what did you learn in history class today?” or “did you do anything really fun and interesting today?”.  Remember when listening to children and especially teens - they can tell when you’re distracted. Put your own phone away, maybe even turn off the TV, and engage in active listening with your teen. Listen without an agenda. If your teen feels like their daily report is a trap for you to give them life lessons, they’ll likely disclose less and less in fear of repercussions.  Connecting with College Students Connecting with college students may feel like the hardest, especially if they’re out of state. College students are not only not at home but are forging their own path as a young adult now. It’s scary to think about - your little one, making adult decisions! Both you and your college-age kid are navigating a huge, jarring change. They’ll likely go through many emotional or cognitive changes as they meet others from different backgrounds and are no longer surrounded by the bubble of family and friends who are all relatively similar. Their beliefs and values will be challenged. It should be no surprise that our main suggestion is to talk to your college student! Make it a point to call them at least once a week to actually hear their voice. You can even use a video system like FaceTime to feel even more connected.  With college students, use open-ended questions, like “what’s going on for you lately?” or “tell me about your favorite class.”. This way, you’ll learn more about life on campus as well as what’s going on in their life. Additionally, show your support for them - they should know you’re available emotionally and physically for them if they need to call or pop by home for some support.  We hope this blog post gives you some tips about connecting with your kids as they’re at school! We’re just like our kids - we want to feel safe, heard, and seen. One of the best ways to accomplish that is by seeing a therapist! At Therapy Beyond Healing, we’d love to be that support system for you, especially as your kids return or go to school for the first time. Reach out today by emailing to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!