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Connection & Compassion

My ‘tuppence’ worth of advise for parents/guardians who’s children have returned to school this month

Earlier this month, I was asked to contribute to an article in Cork’s Echo themed around a piece of advise I would offer parents/ guardians who’s children are returning to school. The month of September is always a maelstrom of activity in this house and writing this article served as a gentle reminder to myself to ‘practise what I preach’! I hope you enjoy.

“As a parent of three school- going children, there’s no denying that the return to school transition can bring with it a rollercoaster of emotions and an injection of pace that can at times be overwhelming.

These days are often characterised by a forensic focus on our never-ending ‘to do’ list as we wonder if we have ‘everything sorted’. As if somehow, reassuring ourselves that if our children have all the material items that they need, they will be fine…right?

When we strive for perfection in this regard, we can often loose sight of what is most important at this time – connection with our children and compassion for ourselves.

For a lot of children, returning to school can be an anxious time, particularly for children changing schools or transitioning from primary to secondary school. It can represent a change in identity and status for them. Having a parent/ guardian who has a calm presence is important in enabling them to navigate this transition. This involves taking time out to relax, listen and chat as well as provide reassurance and encouragement. All of this is invaluable to our children.

Of course, it’s very hard to be ‘present’ if we are running from pillar to post. In my coaching practise, I have observed that while many adults are compassionate towards others, they are at a loss when it comes to themselves. It is my belief that the most important relationship we have in our life is the one we have with ourselves, therefore, our route to self- compassion may involve practising kindness by not judging ourselves harshly, aiming to remove the word ‘should’ from our narrative and by backing ourselves.

As with every other September “This too will pass”.”

Gillian McGrath is a Life & Business Coach. For more information, go to


About gillianmcg

Professional Trainer, Life and Business Coach, Mother of 3,Blogger and Founder of Change Grow Succeed. See for more details.

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