I find this time of the year stressful. There….I said it! Many parents are counting down the days until there’s no more homework, no more lunches to make and the lazy days of summer begin.

For me, as a child, this time of the year represented a lot of changes and a lot of endings. The classroom family I had known all year was breaking up, my school parents (a.k.a. my teachers) were moving on to other adventures, and new routines were being talked about for summer. Now that I’m an adult, I can understand why I felt unsettled. I’m sure my own boys can’t articulate these reasons now either.

Endings are difficult for us all and it takes a lot of energy to manage our stress through this time.

So how can we best make it through?

First get rid of the “shoulds”!

We all have those voices in our heads, the voices that say “I should do this” or “my child should do that”. I find it hard to stop or quiet those voices, but I can change the vocabulary. Instead of “I should find the best end of year teacher gift”, I ask myself “How can I recognize and thank the teacher?” Instead of “I should find a way to attend the year end BBQ and the pool party even though they are on the same day”, I ask myself, “Which one would we enjoy more?” and we attend that one only.

However…

There is one “should” that you need to listen to. You should stay connected with your child. Though our kids may not be able to name the unsettled feelings they have at this time of the year, we know it’s hard.  Their art work is coming off the walls, their teachers are packing up their belongings and the buzz of teachers leaving the school is in the air. Staying connected throughout this tumultuous time will be critical to give your child the glue that will prevent them from becoming “unstuck” during the school day.

Now that I’ve learned these strategies, this time of the year is less unsettling and a little calmer. We find ourselves slipping more easily from the end of school to the lazy days of summer.

My colleague, Vicki, and I have developed a one-page worksheet called the End-of-School-Year Survival Plan to help you survive the last few weeks of the school year. You can download it here! And don’t forget to read Vicki’s blog on this topic too!