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The Longest Mile

As the school year ends, kids fall apart from the stress of disrupted routines. Getting back on track with schedules helps, says this mom of a family with attention deficit — and so does a little understanding.

Another rough morning in my household has confirmed the worst: Summertime-Hurry-Up-And-Get-Here is has fully set in. With each morning, it gets harder and harder to wake the teen and tween. Then the struggle to eat, get dressed, and out the door has become a knock-down drag-out battle. Behavior becomes rockier. The “I have a stomachache, can I just stay home?” complaints triple. As I begin to assemble my lengthening list of complaints, I remember, this is totally par for the course in May. I really dislike this time of year. With just 19 days left of school, they children are checking out. We’re on mile 24 of our marathon; almost there, but not quite.

I remember when Holden, my teen, first started kindergarten. We had so many challenges in May. Every day was harder than the one before. I was shocked. Why, all of a sudden does he not want to go to school? This happened again the next year, and I voiced my concern at our Special Education Parent Support Group Meeting. I was so relieved to hear that I wasn’t alone. Most of the parents voiced the same concern.

The kids have finished their state testing, and while that stress is relieved, for our sensitive kids, that stress leaves residual effects. Also, they feel like since their tests are done, they have nothing left to learn. Because the testing is completed, some of their school routines have shifted a bit, and that can wreak havoc on kids who depend on structure.

It helps me deal with them when I understand that this is just as much of a difficult time for them as it is for me. They aren’t being more difficult in the mornings because they want to be, but because of the their internal struggles. At home, we try to combat some of this by maintaining our schedules. While the sun may still be out later, and they’d like to still play, we try and keep mealtime and bedtime the same. It certainly isn’t foolproof (as demonstrated by the food fight at this morning’s breakfast table…) but it does help a little.

While this time of year is awful, at least it helps to know what I’m in for every year. Sometimes it just helps to know you’re not alone, and that it’s par for the course of Special Parenting. Also, I can plan ahead and stock up on wine in April, to prepare for the wrath of May.

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