My tweens are back to school. 7th grade. I’ve sent 2 down this road already and I know this year in particular can be tricky. They each deal with change in routine differently. One of my twin boys carries a lot of stress and it shows. The other one could actually use a little more stress to keep him motivated!
Everyone carries their stress differently and it can present itself in physical pain, emotional outburst, fatigue, anxiety and changes in behavior. Being able to regulate your stress can really help. The return to school, though exciting, brings about much strain and worry. As a mom and therapist, I realize that any single approach does not work and tweens have their own thoughts, concerns and strong opinions that also reflect their drive to be more independent thinkers. But, I like to think that being proactive, aware and active listeners is our best ammunition and can help create a positive transition. A few solutions that I like to encourage are:
- Organization. Ok, well this is easier said than done with twins but honestly, the more organized we all are, the better our days and week will flow. I try to keep a wipe erase board visible at all times to keep reminders, notes, and messages visible. I actually adhere one to the wall so we all have access to it. Plus, each boy has his own calendar/organizer for his assignments. Some tools I like to have available are timers, carrels and a sensory savvy workspace. I like to have cushions for seating, ball chair and some fidget tools nearby as well.
- Exercise. Both my boys are on the go but formal exercise like karate helps to reinforce work ethic, respect and discipline. These go a long way. At home we have a jumping board, swing bar, and some stretch bands nearby for homework breaks as well as a slew of different balls.
- Swing Therapy. I can’t say enough about the benefits of owning a swing. It’s my boys first go-to spot after school. They crave the movement and the calm. I love the doorway bar and have it right in our kitchen, but we use a ceiling suspension in our basement as well.
- Weight and Pressure. Boys will be boys and well, wrestling and chasing each other around the house seems to be their number one “weight and pressure” activity. There’s nothing like having your brother pin you to the floor, but I like to keep some weighted items like lap pads and vests nearby. My kids know they can grab one anytime they feel the need.
- Sleep. A good schedule including a good night’s sleep can really help keep all of our emotions in check. Using weighted blankets for rest, reading time, sleeping or just to calm down before bed can help calm jittery muscles and encourage a great night’s sleep.
- Perspective. Lastly, we try to keep homework and school in perspective. Though I have lists and I’m big on responsibility, we make sure we laugh, take time to snack, walk the dog and have dinner together. And when all else fails, we eat ice cream.