Summer Reset

It's almost time to go back to school, and we're a little worried about the Captain.

Dreena Melea Tischler April 30, 2014
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I’m looking at the calendar and freaking out a little: School is right around the corner. In less than two weeks we will leave on our family vacation, and when we return, it’s a week until school starts.

I realize most parents would be thrilled at this prospect, but not me. I am concerned that our 4-year-old is not ready to go back. He is in a preschool expressive language program (two hours a day) because his communication skills are behind his peer level. School has definitely helped him here, but it has opened up a whole other can of worms.

This little one has been through a lot in his short life. We were his sixth move. He wasn’t 3 yet. This means his attachment to us has been slow and is still insecure. He needs a frequent and sustaining contact with me throughout the day. Toward the end of the school year, he was displaying a lot of reactivity at school. He got in the habit of collapsing into tears any time he did not get his way or was corrected. This then spiraled into a fit. Once the fit happened, it might take his teachers a half-hour or more to get him reintegrated into the class. Needless to say, this was disruptive to the class and our son.

I have my theories about what initially set off this chain of events, but it’s really irrelevant. The issue now is, have we worked through this enough to send him back to school with confidence? Early in the summer, I explained that it was inappropriate for a child of his age to have a fit every time he didn’t like something. He has words now, we want him to use them.

To his credit, he’s made tremendous progress. His face still crumbles, often, but the tantrums have stopped. My fear is that when he goes back to school, he will fall back into that pattern. Needless to say, with a two-hour class, it’s hard to learn much if you are spending half the time having a melt down!

I am going to spend the next month reinforcing my bond with our son. I am going to make sure he has lots of fun and will point out how enjoyable life is when you get be in the middle of the activities and not isolate in order to calm down. In the end, I am going to trust that this 10-week “reset” is enough and will stand him in good stead. Ah, parenting!

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Dreena Melea Tischler


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