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Psychological advice to facilitate the return to school

Psychological advice to facilitate the return to school

October 1, 2022

While the calendar years begin on January 1, for many of us the year really starts with the return to school , in these first weeks of September when you return from vacation and it is time to return to the routine to face a new course.

For adults it can be complicated how to manage it (in the pre-crisis stage there was even talk of a new diagnosis called "post-holiday depression") and in childhood or adolescence it was not going to be less .

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The end of summer and the return to routine

I remember as a child the days before returning to school, the mixture of sensations between the pain of ending the summer, the illusion of seeing friends, a certain nervousness at the uncertainty of what the new subjects would be like, new classmates and teachers, etc.

During these dates it is normal that our children experience a wide amalgam of thoughts and emotions . Just as the new course is being prepared with new school material, new schedules and extra-curricular activities, it can also be very positive to dedicate a few hours to helping the children to see how this new season will be addressed.

Work to identify what is important to them, what attitude they want to assume during this next course, what kind of partner, student, friend, they want to be, and how they would like to see themselves acting in different situations, in a way that made them feel proud At the end of the day, or feeling satisfied when looking towards the next holidays, it can be a great experience for the little ones, and at the same time a rich experience to know oneself better, the other, and strengthen trust in parent-child relationships .

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Back to school: facing new directions and opportunities

"If you do not know where you're going, you can end up anywhere else," Yogi Berra used to say, and it's something that new trends in psychotherapy and coaching deepen and put more and more emphasis on. Without direction, one goes adrift. If one is not clear, from his being, his essence, what he wants, how he wants to be, where he is going ... The easy thing is that day-to-day events confuse your steps , advancing to jump of kills in different directions and difficult to reach port, and especially, the port that interests you.

In the psychological plane, from the Therapy of Acceptance and Commitment we speak of values; What is important for you in the friendship relationship, as a student, in your role of learning, as a child ... How do you want to be? You get a direction, a stable horizon to move forward. Having this clear will allow us to be able to continue on the desired route when emotions, thoughts and passing doubts appear that may pretend to take the reins of our actions and make us drift or get away from our course.

Starting a new course can therefore be a great opportunity to spend some time to see what this direction will be, what things you want to do and how you want to be during this next season. To talk about the goals and expectations of the children for the next course, and how to approach them. Some observations, or guiding questions that may be useful, would be:

  1. What is happening, what things are there today, in your life, that are working well Are you happy or happy with it?
  2. In what ways would you like this school year to be different from the previous one?
  3. During school weeks,how you want to invest your time and energy during school , in the playground, after school, extra-curricular activities, homework ...?

These or similar issues can serve to determine what to spend time and what to pay attention to during the next course. The fact of attending to this declaration of intentions allows people to act with meaning, being aware that what is done is for something, with a sense, thus avoiding to act with the autopilot . At the same time, it will allow you to act consciously, instead of reacting automatically to thoughts, emotions ... that may appear.

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Let's take an example ... Values ​​and barriers in childhood

If a child is important in his / her role as a student, the implication, curiosity in learning and understanding what is explained, constancy as a habit to improve and grow , for example.

Before the announcement of a professor of an upcoming work or exhibition, the insecurity of speaking in public may appear, if the agenda is not well known and becomes evident, of not doing well and getting a bad grade .

It is possible that the following weeks, when considering starting to prepare that work, come barriers, thoughts related to those concerns, so you prefer to postpone that responsibility to not address it and stop feeling that discomfort, which every time for the lack of time progressively complicates the situation.

Keeping in mind the values ​​you have established, how you want to face situations, even living with the worry that it may go wrong, and committing to that direction, with that "how I want to be", is something that will give meaning to what you do, will make you feel proud of yourself , and will most likely improve your performance in different areas of your life.

Without knowing it, he will be getting used to acting with psychological flexibility, learning to move towards what is important for him, taking the course he or she wants even when the waves are moved, with difficult thoughts, worries or emotions , which is important because psychological flexibility is a central axis for personal well-being both in childhood and later in adults.

Evaluate processes vs assess results

It may be advisable, since the course is established in quarters, raise these issues at a quarterly level and renew those commitments every 3 months modifying what is appropriate. In this line, it is also worth highlighting the difference between assessing the processes or the results.

A test can go wrong for many reasons, leading to a bad result even when the student has worked well during the course and has learned the agenda. On the contrary, someone can get lucky and get a good result in a fortuitous way.

Focusing on processes means focusing on the quality of what is done, on cultivating an optimal way of functioning, on which to trust, which generates stability and security in the medium and long term. B roast only in results is short-term and it can be dangerous because it may seem that something is working well when it really is not, and it can lead to drastic or volatile changes.

Focusing on the process, reviewing it when necessary but following a plan when it has been agreed that it was the best plan to follow, allows focusing on what is important here and now, what needs to be done now, instead of worrying about what results They will obtain, thus reducing the levels of stress and worry that can be generated by turning things around, worrying and ruminating.

As obvious as it sounds, it's easy to forget that the best way to get a good result here and now is invest energy in what you have to do here and now (to study, for example), not to spend the time destined to study in turning around the possible results to anticipate future consequences.

Prepare the return to school at the psychological level

Although the format of this is totally free, an example of how to perform and shed what has been proposed so far can be the following:

For each of the main roles played by the child in question you can use the target, which includes some values, how you want to be, within that role. The idea is that there are different ways of acting throughout the day or week , and some may suppose "to make target" while others "miss the shot", in relation to that value. It can be done with the one of me - friend, yo-student, yo-yo, yo-as a member of a sports team ...

Having established the values ​​for different areas of life, the next step is to specify what is done when it is hitting the target, how it behaves there, and what ways to act are to miss the shot.

Another alternative may be to prepare an objective planning in the direction of a value, for example: in the face of the value of, as a child, being more "senior" or "responsible", there may be a series of objectives or tasks that go towards it : take care of picking up the table, clean my shoes, buy breakfast on Saturdays, make my bed, go alone to take the bus, go to the movies with friends, go out until X h. on weekends ... According to each case and life time.

Having already what is to target, what is missing the shot, it is convenient to see what things can cause the shot to fail, what things appear and make one move the rudder and lose the course.

In general, there may be internal (thoughts, emotions, etc.) and external (time restrictions, economic, physical distance ...). It is positive and convenient to be aware of them, to know that they are there and to gain the ability to identify them, so that when the fear to suspend and thoughts related to it appear , the person can decide freely, if he obeys that fear or acts on the basis of his values.

In conclusion

What it will be to hit the target when a difficulty arises, and learn to stay on course even when the waves suggest hiding in the hold, they are great lessons for today and tomorrow for our children , and exercises like the one proposed can be equally interesting for any other age group.

And you, how do you want to face this new course?

How to stay calm when you know you'll be stressed | Daniel Levitin (October 2022).

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