My kids have been back in school for about six weeks, and it’s definitely been a period of adjustment in the Hawkins’ house. With Travis starting his freshman year of high school and Harrison entering kindergarten, and both of them playing sports, we’ve had challenges acclimating to the new germs and the busier way of life, juggling all the things — including behavior changes and tantrums.
After two years of homeschool, Travis is having a great time being around his friends daily, but it took a few weeks to learn how to balance his heavy course load and his commitment to football. For Harrison, this is the first time he’s been away from us (none of my kids have ever been in daycare or preschool, or had a babysitter), so him starting kindergarten has come with it a new set of challenges. Harry does great at school. He listens, is respectful, well-behaved and kind, but when he get’s home it’s a different story. Lately he’s had trouble being kind to Mara, and he sometimes has tantrums, and when he get’s home we can tell he’s tired, but he whines when we encourage him to rest. It’s been rough on all of us, and I admit thatI’ve had a hard time being a positive parent 100% of the time.
Chloe and Travis are 17 and 14, and maybe I’m romanticizing their time in kindergarten, but I don’t remember experiencing behavior changes when they started school. Harrison on the other hand, had a slight disadvantage, because he lived most of his “preschool years” in quarantine. With my older kids, I started homeschool during those years, but we alway did field trips and had play dates, but the world shut down for quite a while, and there was and extended period of time where Harry and Mara would only see other kids infrequently at the park, or in the neighborhood playing — so I guess I’m not shocked the behavior changes we’ve seen, when he went from being around his family 24/7, to being in a class with strangers for eight hours a day.
Many of us parents experience tantrums changes in our children’s behavior during back to school, but it doesn’t have to sour this season for your family. This is the perfect time to setting into your new routine and bring your children’s behavior in line. Behavior changes in children can be a bit of an adjustment for parents and guardians.
Here are a few helpful tips to guide you through back to school behavior changes:
1. Establish clear rules and expectations from the beginning of the school year.
Behavior changes and tantrums are normal when kids are starting school for the first time, going to a new school, or starting a new school year.
2. Be patient.
It is natural for children to act out during the transition to a new school year. However, be patient and understanding.
3. Don’t overreact.
If your child is exhibiting tantrums and disruptive or negative behavior changes, try to remain calm. Don’t resort to punishment or yelling.
4. Praise your child when they follow your rules and expectations.
It’s easy to focus on the negative and constantly point out behavior changes, but remember to praise them for doing the right things.
5. Disciplining your child should be a last resort.
Remember that children are always going to make mistakes, but you should try to handle those mistakes in a way that redirects bad behavior instead on villanising it.
6. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep.
Think about how irritable you get when you don’t get enough sleep, or how tough it is to function at work when you’re tired — now imagine being a kid, and not understanding why you’re irritable or how to cope with it. Often, when your child exhibits behavior changes at the beginning of the school year, the culprit is a lack of sleep. So adjust those bedtime schedules.
7. Remember that children are still learning and changing, so be be prepared to change with them.
Flexibility is key, when learning how to deal with your child’s changing behavior.
8. Give them an outlet to burn their extra energy.
This can be done by providing opportunities for physical activity, playing games, or participating in extracurricular activities.
If you are having trouble managing your child’s tantrums or changing behavior, don’t fret and don’t feel alone. There are plenty of resources available, such as websites, books, family counseling, or parenting classes. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to take action in order to help your child adjust to the new school year successfully. Back to school is a time of change for both you and your child. Be prepared for changes in your children’s behavior and be patient while they learn and grow.