I have been a proud helicopter parent, enduring: years of intertility, then 3 months in neonatal intensive care, 2 brain bleeds, and a first child a little over 1 lb. It just takes one doctor saying “your vigilance has paid off” to continue running interference through walking, talking, and school.
Then one angel child. And finally Thing 2. Now ten years have passed since Thing 1 was born. It is time to back off and let Thing 1 build his own armor. And start early with Thing 2. My first step was to LEARN some coping skills to teach them! Here are my top three for toddlers and early elementary school kids.
Three Plan-Ahead Coping Tricks:
1. Rock in the pocket to remind them of the long evolution of the planet, of the rock solid love of the family. Kiss it and that is their pocket kiss. Long noisy kisses are good for a laugh. And tell them you’ll always come back for that rock! 🙂
2. Months turned into years of wearing scarves to work, primarily so that my children could take them off me when I said goodbye at daycare and keep them, sleep with them, or stash them in their cubbies. My business card and driver’s license also worked if I forgot the scarf. Taking my headrag scarf made it extra fun and funny!
3. Read books about it: first day of school, moving, getting a pet, going to the dentist. Describing what you think is coming helps a great deal: the trip, a funeral, the hospital. Talk about what it will look, sound, feel like. Sometimes my social stories move to the ridiculous in search of a laugh: we move near Nanny and she sneaks into our house one day and uses all the legos to make a swimming pool! No, not really — but we will have Sunday dinner with her.
What works for your family when first-time jitters pop up? Please leave a comment and we will grow the list together.