No matter how excited your child was to pick up a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don’t want to go to school. Whether they say “I don’t like school” when you are at home playing together or they collapse on the way to class, there are things you can say to help. to relieve their nerves at the start of the school year.
More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most likely aware of. It is important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them and that they can cope with it.
Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.
1. “You are safe here.”
If you have a young child, he or she may be really scared to leave you and go to school. Tell them that the school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they will believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving, they won’t feel safe. How can they be safe if you are clearly afraid to leave them? Try to work out your own feelings about dropping them off before the same day so that you can be a calm presence and support.
2. “I love you and I know you can do it.”
It’s best to keep your goodbyes brief, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover quickly from their difficult farewells after the parent leaves.
If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give them a good, strong hug and let them know that you love them and know they can. Saying something like, “It’s just school, you’ll be fine” belittles their feelings. Instead, recognize that it is difficult, but that you are sure they are up to the task. This validates the anxiety they are feeling while ending on a positive note.
After quickly reassuring yourself, step outside, take a deep breath, and trust that you will be okay.
3. “You will have circle time first, then work time, then you will play on the playground. “
Talk to your child about the daily school schedule, including as much detail as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kind of work they will be doing, when they will have lunch and play outside, and who will pick them up in the afternoon.
It may help to do this several times to make them feel comfortable with the new daily rhythm.
4. “I’ll pick you up after playground time.”
Give your child a frame of reference for your return.
If your child can tell the time, you can tell them you’ll see them at 3:30 p.m. If they’re younger, tell them what’s going to happen right before you pick them up. Maybe you’ll pick them up right after lunch, or maybe after math class.
Giving that baseline can help reassure them that you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days go by, they will realize that you come regularly every day when you said you would and their anxieties will subside.
5. “What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?” “
Find out what happens first during your child’s school day and help them make the mental transition to this task. In a Montessori school, children choose their own work, so you can ask which work your child plans to do first.
If they’re in a more traditional school, find one aspect of the school morning that they like and talk about it.
Thinking about the whole day of school can seem intimidating, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it more manageable.
6. “Do you think Johnny will be here today?”
Remind your child of friends they will see when they get to school.
If you don’t know who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try to ask them what they could do together.
If your child is new to school, it may be helpful to arrange a meeting with a child in their class to help them build strong relationships.
7. “It’s a difficult feeling. Tell me about it.”
While dropping out of school is not a time to wallow in the grudge of not wanting to go to school, if your child raises concerns after school or on the weekends, take the time to listen to them.
Children can be influenced by our leading questions very easily, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they are really feeling.
They may reveal that they simply miss you while they are away, or may tell you that a certain person or type of job is causing them anxiety.
Let them know that you sympathize with their feelings, but try not to overreact. If you think there is a real problem, talk to the teacher, but your reaction can certainly impact the already shy feelings of going to school.
8. “What can we do to make you feel better? “
Help your child find solutions to make him feel more comfortable going to school.
Pick a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show you’re serious about it.
If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning be helpful? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they’re too tired in the morning, could going to bed earlier help them feel better?
Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you save them, to build their confidence.
9. “What was the best part of your school day? “
Pick a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell him about the best part of your day, then try to ask him questions about the best part of his day. Practice this every day.
It’s easy to focus on the more difficult parts of an experience because they tend to stick in our minds. Help your child recognize that while he may not always want to go, there are probably parts of school that he really enjoys.
10. “Can’t wait to go to the park together when we get home.”
If your child is having trouble saying goodbye, remind them what you will do together after picking them up from school.
Even if it’s just coming home and making dinner, what your child probably wants is spending time with you, so help them remember that it does. come.
It is quite normal for children to go through phases when they do not want to go to school. If you’re worried, talk to your child’s teacher and ask if he looks happy and engaged once he’s in class.
To your child, be there to listen to him, help him when you can, and reassure him that his feelings are natural and that he is so capable of dealing with the challenges of the school day, even when it seems difficult.