by Sharon Puccio
Psychologist, Single Session Therapy Specialist

Returning from summer holidays is almost always an important and difficult process to manage for parents and especially for children and teenagers. There are rare exceptions of lucky families with children who can’t wait to go back to school and get back to school. During the summer, days at the beach with friends, snacks always in company and trips with mum and dad are of great importance for the child who can enjoy time with family or friends. Children, especially young ones, may feel annoyed and bored by the idea of starting school again, now accustomed to the summer routine, they try to escape from school and extracurricular commitments in many ways.

Parents, over the years, learn about the strategies that children use to escape from school commitments. Some children behave aggressively, others somatize with stomach or head pains, others try them all to sabotage the first days of school. When a child expresses, in his own way, discomfort for returning to school, parents must try to meet him and act as a model for managing stress and emotions.

The behavior of children is an expression of discomfort and discomfort and as such must be understood and managed. It may happen that children and young people do not know how to immediately resume an adequate school routine. They may feel troubled by starting school face-to-face, arriving in a new class or because they do not yet know the school they are going to attend.

A factor not to be underestimated is certainly the return to face-to-face teaching , after months of distance teaching, children and young people have created routines and habits that cannot be repeated in face-to-face teaching. The differences between the two teaching methods are many, first of all the actions to be done before the start of the lesson, that is the routine. If during remote teaching it was enough to wake up just before the start of the lesson and turn on the PC while still half asleep, now you have to organize the awakening in order to prepare for the day on time and physically go to school by following a previously planned path. We can say that going back to school in the presence certainly requires more important and studied planning than online teaching.

How can the parent give concrete support to the child?

One of the simplest but most effective ways to get your child back to school with peace of mind is routine . It is very important for children to have a well-defined positive routine that allows them to know in advance what awaits them during the day, what they will do and who they will be with. Routine, in addition to making the child aware of his time, helps him in the development of autonomy. As we know, children are often energetic and resourceful, they can’t wait to learn and make new discoveries, but they need some milestones in the day.

It is helpful to make a routine by adding activities that are important and enjoyable to the child. The idea that the child can have a complete idea of what his day will be will help him to get through the most tiring and boring hours better because he knows that they will be followed by a different activity. The routine can also contain moments entirely dedicated to play and relaxation. Let us remember that the child passes from a state of light-heartedness and daily relaxation to a more demanding one linked to school and other activities.

What to do if the child does not participate

Babies may have some resistance to sticking to a winter routine, so it’s important to make it gradual. If some days are more difficult than others it is normal, it must be taken into account that it is not easy to change. It takes time and resources. Whether the child is having more tantrums than usual or being oppositional is part of the game. The parent must listen but remain firm in their choices.

Consistency is vital in these cases , staying in your position while maintaining some adaptive flexibility. The child will perceive a coherent adult and will slowly seek a compromise. finding a compromise can help parent and child in the early stages of school, the child is making an important effort that the parent must recognize and vice versa. A compromise can also be a small after-school ritual such as an ice cream together or a walk in the playground near the house.

Importance of physical activity

Being able to understand how to calibrate breaks, study, school, extracurricular activities is not easy, but the constant that must be kept in mind is the need of children to move and explore the surrounding environment. After a long period of lockdown in which children have been forced to stay at home for long periods, it is vital to be able to carve out a space entirely dedicated to outdoor physical activity in the daily routine of the child. Children have the physiological need to move , even if they are sometimes sucked into by electronic devices, it is advisable for parents to involve them in outdoor physical activities and if possible in the company of peers.

Reserve physical and mental space away from devices

The school routine requires dedication and commitment, the school enters the home of children and parents even outside school hours, for example, through WhatsApp groups with classmates or teachers or online teaching and dissemination platforms. Often there are no moments of the day when it is 100% disconnected from electronic devices and you have the feeling of always being connected and always available. It is a double-edged sword, on the one hand it allows us to always be informed about what we want, but on the other hand it makes us feel the duty to inform ourselves and check social notifications. If this is true for adults, it is even more so for children and adolescents. For this reason, parents can resort to a benevolent seizure of electronic devices on a regular basis, but at the same time they should help their children to organize the time to make them increasingly autonomous in managing the use of technology. The maneuvers depend a lot on the child’s habits, the important thing is that it is done for at least half an hour a day, in order to give the child a physical and mental space away from information and online notifications.

Little TIP : it is important to pay attention to being consistent and to show your children that even their parents can already carve out spaces without technology. A short exercise can be to put the phones on charge to keep company, and parent and child will do the same thing in another room, engaging in offline activities such as creative activities, reading texts or interesting family history discussions; sharing experiences.

Single session therapy to regain a productive routine

While summer has brought back so much normality in a pandemic period like the one of the last two years, today it is an adult task to take over the reins of the time and space structure of the children back to school.

Compared to more than two years ago, today’s boys and girls are more aware and responsible towards the community, but how far can they go? And their parents, how much can they ask them to do, more than they have already achieved?

The beginning of the school this year is a rebirth; it is a restart of an apparent normality, as it is full of rules to follow and duties to observe.

In reestablishing a productive routine, it may be helpful to apply two cardinal principles of single session therapy to your life: aiming for a goal and not talking about problems.

Given that our door is always open and Exerens is always available to arrange a meeting with the professionals, we would like to provide two small suggestions to reintroduce a positive routine in the family life of those who read us.

1. A first goal must be set following the SMART model

According to this model, the goal must be:

Specific – Specific

Measurable – Measurable

Achievable – Achievable

Relevant – Relevant

Time Bound – Due date (defined in time)

2. Avoid talking about problems and think about solutions

Small hitches back to school are normal, raising them to problems can create new ones where they don’t exist.

A good practice is to see the problem as a normal moment that destabilizes, rather than as a pathological obstacle to be treated.

Single session therapy is an intervention method used in brief therapy to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of each individual session. It is based on the principle that change is the result of actions aimed at interrupting those dysfunctional behaviors which have stabilized over time and which have been structured in maladaptive patterns.

Using these two small tricks can be useful to move a first, small, big change.

Enhance memory and concentration with memorens

Sometimes these techniques alone are not enough and to be prepared for back to school we can count on 100% natural support that helps us to enhance memory and concentration even more effectively and efficiently, nourishing the brain with natural substances that have the ability to strengthen brain circuits and improve performance and study and memory skills.

Memorens (oral solution or tablets ) is a food supplement which, if taken every day for at least three months, helps to significantly improve memory and concentration and allows the exercises and tips mentioned above to be even more effective.

The natural active ingredients contained are studied and calibrated for the well-being of the organism and the brain which in turn will lead to positive change and an active improvement of skills and competences.

Bacopa monnieri extract improves memory and cognitive functions and can be useful in promoting relaxation and maintaining mental well-being.

Eleutherococcus senticosus is used as a tonic to invigorate and fortify the body in moments of fatigue and weakness and when concentration and attention levels are lowered.

Maritime pine is an important natural antioxidant that exerts protective effects against oxidative stress, both by increasing the synthesis of antioxidant enzymes, and by acting as a free radical scavenger.