How to Mindfully Navigate Your Child’s First Month Back at School

Practice self-compassion.

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Whether you have a pre-schooler, a kid in elementary school, or a high-school student, the beginning of the school year can be utterly hectic. Ushering in the new school year is a big job for moms as we organize and support our children as they adjust to a whole new set of expectations. So how can we moms achieve more balance and peace of mind right now?  

Psychologist, Kristin Neff discovered that trying to push through actually doesn’t help us much. Her research shows that people who are kinder to themselves actually perform better and enjoy optimal mental health. Known as a practice just like yoga or meditation, self-compassion is anything but self-indulgent.

So what is self-compassion and how can we get some? 

Self-compassion is: 

1. Self-Kindness: How we talk to ourselves really matters. Think about the last time you goofed. How did you relate to yourself when you dropped an egg or missed an important deadline? Some folks say things they wouldn’t even dream of saying to someone else: “You idiot, you always screw up,” or, “You’re a terrible mom.” These thoughts flit through our brains so quickly we almost don’t notice them. Except we do because their impact really affects how we feel and see ourselves. 

2. Common Humanity: We parents often compare ourselves to moms and dads who (we think) have it all together. The truth is most parents struggle at one time or another. Taking a moment to remember this and even send out healing thoughts to other parents can make one feel less alone in moments of struggle.

3. Mindfulness: Mindfulness is welcoming without judgment whatever you are experiencing or feeling at any given moment. It might feel counterintuitive, but accepting your thoughts and emotions (without pushing them away) can help you let go of stress and feel more grounded and more awake in the world. Noticing and naming the emotions you are experiencing is also practicing mindfulness.

There will always be days, weeks, or months when the stress feels overwhelming. Practicing self-compassion and mindfulness allows us to be present as we walk with our children into the world that awaits them.

Brought to you by Jen Kogan, LICSW—a psychotherapist who works with individuals and couples who are parents in her NW DC private practice. Learn more at And your friends at – kid’s classes, camps and sports. Booked fast.