End-of-Year Woes

Anyone who has young children or works in the school system knows that December is NOT the end of the year – May/June IS. In fact, this is so popular of a notion, that the Holderness family has written TWO songs about end-of-the-year May.

Here’s one:

I’m sure this is the part of my blog where I’m supposed to write some sort of disclaimer saying that “Nurturing Village does not specifically endorse the Holderness Family movies / shenanigans” or something like that. Hey, I just thought it was funny.

Anyway, on to my main message…

The end of the school year is SO HARD.

I can’t begin to tell you how many of my parents have come to see me with the look of exhaustion – recounting meltdowns, regressions, and all the trouble that their children are having at this time of year. And, as they are all good caring parents; some are frustrated, some are self-blaming, some are totally baffled…but NONE are alone.

The end of the school year is such a difficult time for children. Our little creatures of routine are confronting the fact that routines are about to change – and, for better or for worse, all change is stressful.

Adult stress looks different than child stress. We, for the most part, in our adult-selves, are able to locate these feelings in our body and pinpoint the triggers behind our angst. In fact, take a look at this thermal imaging of what stress / anxiety looks like in the body…look familiar? (the yellow is the most heat, blue the coldest area).

Children, on the other hand, do not have as sophisticated pre-frontal cortexes to help with this type of insight. Instead, they feel their feelings in their body and have few tools to problem solve managing them.

So, what does that LOOK like?

You already know.

It’s the screaming and crying 8 year old because a drop of orange juice spilled on his end of year project.

It’s the kindergarten student who all the sudden refuses to go to school.

It’s the fifth grader who is suddenly an 11 year old teenager with all sorts of attitude and sass.

No, they’re not waging a war against us parents.

They are experiencing the stress of change.

And guess what? We are too.

So, parents, I am in complete solidarity with you this May. It’s hard.

Perhaps we can be gentle with ourselves as we weather yet another storm. And in the moments that we can, perhaps we can be the calm in our children’s May-hem.

If this message rings true to you and you would like support / a listening ear, please feel free to call Nurturing Village. I’m with you.