This blog has been mulling around in my brain for a while and I’m finally sitting down to write it out. I’ve had a lot of friends and students going through some pretty rough times here lately, and it has made me really think about how our children react and cope with life changes.
First, let me tell you a little about me and what I went through exactly 8 years ago. We had just gotten home from a super relaxing 3 ½ week trip to Greece. Dominic was starting kindergarten and Juliette was almost 3 years old. I started having some health issues and was going from doctor to doctor. My hands were completely swollen, my feet had blown up to practically the size of 2 tree trunks- I didn’t even have ankles. I had some of the worst doctor experiences ever and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. This went on for about 4 months. I was literally a basket case- crying all of the time, unable to move, I couldn’t hold Juliette, I was exhausted all of the time, and super small things like making my bed were impossible. My diagnosis eventually was Rheumatoid Arthritis. I started some pretty heavy medication, and it was months until I started feeling like myself again.
This situation for me and my family was incredibly stressful. I tell you this because as I was battling my everyday issues, I had to communicate with my kids’ teachers and my friends. I needed all of the help I could get to take care of my children and function. When children are affected by these things, they cope very differently. Some children act out for more attention. Some stay the same. Some simply need a little more love and maybe hold on to their teacher more often if they normally don’t.
Life changes are unavoidable and they affect our kids. These changes could be moving to a new home, separation/divorce, new baby, new job, loss of job, death of a family member or pet, change of schools, or applying to a new school. Anytime something changes in our lives, our children notice it! What should you do? I understand you don’t want to broadcast your life to everyone, but giving your teacher a heads up as to what is going on is incredibly helpful. Besides the teachers in your child’s life being there for your child, they will be able to watch for signs while they are away from you. Sometimes, no changes really happen, Other times, that child might just want to sit and chat. Or sometimes they are acting out, and we need to know why,
Being ill was not only stressful for me and my family, but it was a bit humiliating. I didn’t know what was going on or why. Plus, I had no control over what was happening (for those of you who know me know I like having control in my life!). I thought I had done something wrong, or wasn’t being “healthy”. It was hard for me to tell my kids’ teachers what was going on, but once I did, they were able to help me in different ways than I ever anticipated. They were a set of eyes when I wasn’t parenting. Some started giving me a little advice or pointing me in directions of others who were going through something similar. I began to not feel alone. The best thing I did was open my mouth and talk about what was going on with me. We are a community and the best thing about that is caring for one another. Never think you are alone. You need the support, and your children need the extra care. We teachers genuinely care about the well being of your child, and we want to be sources of support for your family when you need it.