Starting school can be an anxious time, both for parent and child. Returning to school after the summer break, even if you’ve been there before, can be just as bad.
You are anxious about them being away from you all day, in a new environment (a big one!), a new teacher, a big class, the homework, their confidence, understanding new teaching methods, the expectations of progress….anything I’ve missed???
Your little one is anxious about whether they’ll get lost, someone to play with in the playground, doing up their coat, having to eat their lunch, missing you, will they like the teacher
Is it reasonable to be anxious?
Do you really have anything to be worried about?
I know when my children started at Primary School I was both excited for them and worried about how it would be. Let me reassure you my children have both left school now and we’ve all survived!
I had already been a teacher for 9 years by the time my eldest started school so I knew how it would be but that didn’t stop me feeling worried. Now I’ve done it I know it’s completely normal – so don’t beat yourself up!
It’s a big step, for you and them. Try to see both sides of the coin and also really work out how you’re feeling. I always tended to mourn the loss of the earlier stages of childhood but my husband found it exciting that they were moving successfully onto the next stage. There’s nothing wrong with feeling the loss but try not to let it overshadow the next exciting steps.
Talking of loss, I’m not so sure my overriding feeling was actually worry. I think it was loss. It didn’t do me any good because I couldn’t turn the clock back! They were getting older whether I like it or not.
If you’re like I was plan your days while your child is at school. Don’t give yourself time to wallow in those feelings. Get things done that you can’t tackle while your little one is around, or treat yourself to days out.
Most children take starting school in their stride. They probably won’t remember what they done all day because they’ll have been so busy. After a few weeks they may get tired, and possibly say they don’t want to go again. But that usually is tiredness. If you are at all concerned speak to the teacher. Some schools even have school emails addresses for every teacher. When I was a classroom teacher I encouraged parents to come and tell me their worries so we could tackle small problems rather than wait until it became a big problem.
Undoubtably your child will moan from time to time about school. They all do. It’s normal when you have to go to the same place every day. School is a process and there will be things your child has to do that they don’t like.
The best thing you can do is to apply one of my 3 Keys for a Great Relationship – Listen. Easy right?
We can all listen. We just need to remember to listen well. Make sure your little one knows you are listening to them. That might mean stopping what you are doing and looking at them. Or even sitting down with them. Nod and agree with them in the relevant places but try not to interrupt them or offer them solutions. Acknowledge that they feel the way they do. You don’t have to agree with everything but just say something like, “I can see you’re upset by that.” You don’t have to offer a solution, they may just need to tell you. If they want something to change ask them how they would like things to be.
I have found the biggest problem for parents is that they have less time with their children once they start school and of course that becomes an increasing problem. So if you start a routine of catching up on the day you’ll find out about what’s going on for them but also you’ll stay closer as they approach their teens.
Good luck with the start of the school year! If you have any questions join us at Caterpillars Community on Facebook for loads of tips and suggestions.
But with the right preparation it can become really enjoyable to see your little one grow.