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The kids are back in school. For us parents who have been through 15-20 years of schooling, an academic cycle is built into the rhythm of our lives. There is a beginning (fall), middle (winter), and an end (spring) followed by a period of regrouping (summer). The hands on the clock keep spinning as families navigate challenges.

As you begin again, consider opportunities that arise from your family’s new cycle:

Reinvestment: Each new beginning offers a chance to measure your level of engagement. The degree to which you invest determines the strength of the platform that will eventually support your growth.

Embracing Conflict and Difference: Friction is a gift when it’s managed with respect and maturity. A new day invites a new idea. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

Increasing Connection: Trust is cumulative. It is earned with accountability and damaged with neglect. The cyclical nature of families offers endless second chances. Seize the opportunity to advance your relationships to the next level.

Adaptation: Each day has unexpected events that require a reaction. Sometimes our responses are nimble and poised while other times we’re awkward and clumsy. Efforts to keep things from changing are usually counterproductive. Moving with the flow of change is often the best strategy.

Refueling: The natural breaks (holidays, spring break) are designed to recharge the system. Walking away and getting some space is an effective way of finding clarity. Depleted resources need restocking. Fuel the next phase of growth with well-earned rest.

The stages of the cycle are predictable in healthy families. Follow the refueling phase with a renewed investment. Use this as a platform for building trust. Leverage the connection to innovate. Distance from the status quo to manage the changes you’ve created. Adapt with poise and begin again.

About the Author

Kerry Galarza, MS OTR/L is the Clinical Director and a pediatric occupational therapist at Elmhurst Counseling. She provides specialized assessment and intervention with children of all ages and their families. Kerry engages clients with naturally occurring, meaningful home-based methods to empower autonomy and maximize functioning.