Sending your first child to school can be a daunting experience for both parent and child as emotions tangle and twist We seem to spend all day clock watching until they come home yet once we collect them we can be left with the feeling that we left one child at school yet they hand you an entirely different one to take home again.
- Take a snack
- Hold fire
- Hulk syndrome
Don't be alarmed if your little angel turns into Hulk when you get home. They're argumentative, volatile and bloody hard work. Oh my god, what has school done to them?! School is a big change for them. It's hard work having to do as you're told all day, learning new boundaries and new skills. The teachers assure you they're wonderful at school, everything you hoped they'd be yet they come home and they're horrid. Don't laugh but this is actually a compliment to your parenting. The fact that they let go when they let home is testament to how secure they feel at home and how secure they are in your love for them that they feel able to let go the pent up energy and frustrations of having to be good all day at school. If you're like this at school, there's dire consequences, people and teachers may not like you, you may be seen as a failure or labelled and you may be excluded, not just in the traditional school sense but socially too. Never underestimate the concentration and effort it takes to be a school child. At home they can lash out safe in the knoweldge that you will love them anyway. How often have you had a bloody awful day and inadvertently taken it out on your spouse? We're often most awful to those we love most because we trust that they will take it, absorb it and then help us calm. It's natural and normal. They're adjusting.
- Choose your questions carefully
Sometimes simply asking a huge open ended question like 'How was your day at school?' although giving them the most scope and room to answer it is actually more likely to get the shorted answer. I usually allow Things One and Two an hour or so at home to aclimatise then ask specific questions over time such as:
* What was your favourate thing about school today?
* Was there anything you didn't like about school today?
* Who made you smile/laugh the most today?
* Did anyone make you sad or angry today?
*What did you eat for dinner/who did you have your dinner with?
* What did you do at playtime?
Through being specific it aids their reflection and recollection and gives opportunity for you to gain an insight into how their day went as well as giving you early warning signs to any potential problems.
- After school activities
- Time chores