As the holidays approach, I decided that I would like to offer some suggestions regarding how you, as a parent, can emotionally prepare for the new year and prepare your kids go back to school.

I’ve recently been working with a lot of families whose children are in very difficult situations in their schools. Often times, there is no right answer and no decision without the risk of downside.

It’s a horrible situation. It’s not going to get better until teachers get the kind of educational and professional development support that they sorely need. We have to be honest that it will take a long time to turn that ship around.

So what do we do? I find myself “in the ring” with my families a lot these days. Sometimes I catch myself taking on their energy: anxious, gut-wrenched, frustrated.  I have good boundaries but in the moment, I’m with them and I feel it.

I keep coming back to the most basic question. What can we do to help your child feel safe? What can we do to support our kids’ resilience? I’ve come to realize that the key is to take care of ourselves.

Dyslexia is a chronic issue. It doesn’t go away. So we have to take good care of ourselves so we can take good care of our kids and keep making the best decisions as possible. We need to create and maintain a safe and predictable environment as well as we can.

In my series called Your Child Restored:  The Path from Suffering to Success, the fifth component is called Take Care of Your Heart and Soul.

In light of all of us headed into the holidays, I thought it was timely to review several ways we can take care of our heart and soul.

Here we go:

  • Predict that you’re going to get knocked off balance sometimes. That’s just life. Acknowledge it and get back up.
  • Reach out to your support system when you’re feeling jangled. Is that not the beauty of Decoding Dyslexia?
  • Remember that it’s okay to feel good about your child’s success (and your own) on your own terms!
  • Exercise like a maniac!
  • Make time to play just the way you like to play. Don’t go by other people’s rules.
  • Take what I call “breath moments.”  I don’t care if it’s for one minute.  Take a deep breath, exhale slowly and tell yourself “It’s all going to be okay.”
  • Catch someone else doing something right.
  • Help yourself by helping others.

 Here are the big three:

  • Be gentle with yourself. Have compassion for yourself and it’ll be easier to have compassion for others, including your kids.
  • Let go of shame and guilt.  I know it can be hard but it is doable (check out the website of Brene Brown).
  • Use humor! Humor is a great way let go and reset when you get knocked off balance.

These are lifetime goals, I know. Just remember that taking care of yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child.

I truly hope you have a wonderful holiday.