Life’s up and downs – 6 tips for parents dealing with tired kids

As the end of term approaches, your child may be becoming quite tired from going to school every day.  You may be observing some different behaviours.  Your child could be happy one moment, unhappy the next.  One day they may tell you everything that happened at school and the next they may not talk at all.

What’s happening is normal!

Every day your child is experiencing new demands and challenges.  Dealing effectively with whatever they encounter on a day-to-day basis, and to be happy, successful in school and satisfied with their lives, your child needs inner strength. This is called resilience.

Resilient children have learned to set realistic goals and expectations.  The have developed the ability to solve problems and make decisions and are more likely to view mistakes and obstacles as challenges rather than as things to avoid.

Resilient children are aware of their weaknesses but they also recognize their strong points.  They have developed effective interpersonal skills with peers and adults and seek help and support in appropriate ways.

These type of skills don't come naturally to everyone.  Some children need help with building resilience and that’s where you come in.

There is no one proved golden path to the future. Each child travels though life on a unique road that is shaped by a variety of factors, including their temperament, educational experiences, family environment and values.

So, what can you do to help your child through the ups and downs of daily life? Here are 6 hints to help you.

  1. Be empathetic. Put yourself in your child’s shoes and see the world through their eyes.  Empathy does not mean that you agree with everything your child does, but rather you attempt to understand their point of view.  Of course, it is easier to be empathetic when our kids do what we ask them to do, are successful in their activities and are warm and responsive.  It’s more difficult when we’re upset, angry or disappointed in them, but that is often when it matters most.
  2. Continue to maintain and encourage their already existing relationship with other adults, be they grandparents, aunts or uncles.  This will help your child feel loved and supported and will provide them with a network of people to help them work through the changes they are experiencing
  3. As much as possible, continue to do the same things as you always have with your child.  Having a time that is “theirs” where you both do something special together – like read a story before bed – is very important and goes a long way towards your child adjusting to and coping with the ups and down of everyday life.
  4. Change negative statements. Every parent can remember when they repeatedly told or nagged their child to do or not do something with little, if any, positive response by their child. If something you have said or done for a reasonable amount of time does not work, then you need to change your approach if your child is to change theirs.  This does not imply “giving in to” or “spoiling” your child.  Rather it helps to teach your child that there are alternative ways of solving problems.  A good tip is to reword your response into saying “yes”.  For example “yes, you can go out to play once we finish this book”. When you do say “no”, mean it.
  5. Listen to your child as they talk about how they feel, especially when things are not going so well.  Let your child know you have heard what they’ve said and talk to them about ways of dealing with or solving their problem.  This will help your child understand that they are valued and that you are taking their feelings seriously.
  6. Teach your child to solve problems and make decisions.  Resilient children recognize problems, consider different solutions, attempt what they judge to be the most appropriate solutions, and learn from the outcome.  To reinforce this approach, try to avoid telling your child what to do.  Rather try to get them to thing about possible solutions themselves.

This was an article that was posted in one of my children’s year level newsletters last year. It came from the Department of Education website, author unknown. This really resonated with me at the time as it came at the end of the first term for my preppie. I have slightly adapted it and wanted to share it with you as I think it’s a good reminder to us all no matter what the age of our child/ren or what school term they are in.