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Going back to school- pay attention to their cues!

Growing up I felt this weird feeling in my gut as the holidays came to an end. I would tell my friends that my stomach didn't feel good, I sometimes felt nauseous but what I didn't know was that I was feeling anxious.

Anxiety was a word I had not heard of until Atharv's autism diagnosis. I knew this word as a synonym of nervousness. That was it!

I now live this word every single day and I see how it drains energy out of ones body leaving them fatigued, irritable, dull, and defeated.

How do you know your child is anxious about going back to school?

Some signs of anxiety:

-Continually seeking reassurance or asking repeated, worried questions despite already receiving an answer.

- Continually seeking high energy activities- skate boarding, high speed activities, intense sports. The mind races and gives us a feeling of a lot of energy.

- Increased physical complaints, such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue in the absence of an actual illness. This is sign of energy draining from the mind being constantly anxious. It can take a toll on physical health.

- A significant change in sleep pattern, such as taking an hour to fall asleep when a child normally goes to sleep quickly, or waking you up with worries during the night when a child typically sleeps well. Lack of sleep will create a vicious cycle and fatigue, lack of focus which may lead to not wanting to go to school

- Avoiding school-related activities, such as school tours, teacher meet-and-greets, or avoiding school itself once the year starts. The point above is a loop we may fall into.

Now let's look at another feeling. The opposite of the above. This one feels heavy.

Before we go there. Do you know what personality your kids have? What is their temperament?

When you know your child is driven, happy, respectful and motivated and you find them

not being their true self, nagging won't help.

It will create more distance between your child and you.

The picture shows kids sitting at a lunch table. This was made by my 15 year old which now sits at his study table.

When he heads back to school this year, this table will not be the same. His close friends are leaving for a boarding school this month and nothing will be the same anymore.

He seals this memory in this tiny project.

I noticed him slipping. My husband would tell me- "I have never had to repeat myself to Sparsh. What is happening to him? I feel he is close to falling into depression!"

I know this is not depression but definitely close to falling into it.

One day when Sparsh and I were out for a walk I asked him to describe himself. He said

- calm, motivated, organized, respectful, kind and aware.

I then asked him if he can say that he is all of things he said about himself in this point of time. He said no.

So how would he describe himself now? He said - sad, distracted, lacked motivation, didn't feel like doing anything, hurting due to injury all the time.

We then talked about how he may be processing his friends leaving and this is energy spent and is downward spiraling. This cannot be fixed in one day but effort has to be put into creating a rhythm before school starts because once we start school the schedule takes over. Imagine you entering school with this energy. Your lack of motivation and distracted mind won't let you focus and then leave you not wanting to go to any lectures as you find yourself not able to learn. This will create a loop which will be difficult to get out of.

How do we then work on creating an opposite energy and get back to being motivated?

- start things you know you can finish with less efforts. example - write a song (he wrote two)

- meet your friends

- read a book

- organize your closet

- find time to connect to Papa, Atharv and me

- exercise mindfully to work on healing

- start meditation

- talk about your day with us before you head to bed

The work has to be put in opposite to the feeling building up. Aloofness to finding and seeking company, disorganized to attempting being organized, hurting to being pain free... you see the process I am getting to.

If you find your children not being themselves, attempt to know more.

A new year of school can be a big change. They feel it in their bodies and their minds take over. Help them understand. Notice the cues.

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