It’s just a few weeks into school and for many parents, the phone calls from teachers have already begun. “Hoping” this year would be different is a strategy that rarely pays off. Do calls from your child’s teacher or school include language similar to any of the below?

• Not listening

• Not following directions

• Problems with relationships

• Talking too much or not talking at all

• Cannot control their emotions

Fortunately, your children unknowingly uses their behavior to tell those around them that they are out of their comfort zone or uncomfortable. It’s up to us to listen to their non-verbal cues and rather than punish them for acting out, learn alongside them ways to control anxiety, regulate behaviors and feel happy. Transitioning into a new school year, grade or school is a vulnerable time for children of all grade levels.

One-on-one occupational therapy sessions, group therapy programs and social groups available through Zier Institute is often the missing link to help children overcome challenges and find peace among classroom chaos. In addition to seeking supplemental support for children who need it, every family should understand the importance of infusing their families with joyful moments.

Talk about chaos – we get so busy running our kids to and from, cooking, cleaning and checking emails, texts, etc. that somewhere along the way, pure moments of laughter and joy have become less frequent. Regardless of age, kids need to connect with the adults in their lives through joy. It brings down their walls, increases trust, boosts learning and, if only for a few moments each day, eliminates anxiety. When feeling joy, kids also feel safe to be exactly who they really are.

Joy is the muscle that helps children transition through life’s challenges and fuels confidence from the inside out. Interrupt yourself. Slow down. Stop worrying that you’re not doing enough to help your child. Do something that gives you both the giggles instead. In those moments, genuine connection occurs and you realize everything is going to be alright. Happy kids = happy life.

READ MORE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF JOY HERE