I bet you could remember at least one time you were going back to school and the range of emotions you felt.
This is how your child is most likely feeling. However, we don’t want to repeat some of these mistakes. Here’s a list of 5 Things you should not say to your child returning to school or your preschooler starting school for the first time.
5. You don’t need me to be there, you’re big now.
Unless your child is in High School, please refrain from using these string of words. Even some high schoolers still benefit from hearing supporting words such as, “I’ll be there if you need me.”
In the real world, we know parents work and may not be able to appear on the first day. However, a good approach is to encourage your child to know that you will be there, if not physically… Mentally.
It is great to encourage your child to practice individuality. However, we also need them to know that parents are there as a supporting rock for them on their first day of school.
If you can’t be there physically, have a conversation before hand and let them know this. Also send them a written note or even a picture if needed to remind them that you are there for support. If your child is older and has a phone, send a text message and check in once it’s permissable to do so. Lastly, if you can get a copy of the daily schedule before hand, discuss this with your child also so they know what to expect for the first day.
Suggestion: Part of getting older means I will not be able to be everywhere you go. As you go to school, know that I’m here for you in the best way I can be. (Through ways described above)
4. You’ll make tons of friends
This puts an immense pressure making your child focus on making friends. Worse yet, if it’s a preschooler, do they really know the definition of a friend? Is it someone who gives them a hug until the next day they don’t want to give hugs anymore? Then they won’t be friends anymore?
During the first few days, your child is busy trying to see how their personality fits in with the other twenty something students. Please don’t pressure them, let it happen. Rest assured your child’s teacher will create opportunities to build friendships.
Suggestion: Instead you can say, “I’m sure you’ll meet new children and make new memories.”
3. You Better Get A’s
It’s important to give gentle pushes. However, pressuring your child to achieve high grades, especially at the start of the school year may not be sending the right message. Imagine yourself in that situation. Before your fist day of work your boss expects you to deliver nothing but ‘A’ quality work. Sounds stressful right?
Suggestion: Determination is a good thing. Setting standards are great. However, instead of pressuring your child, encourage them to do their best. “I believe in you, work hard and you will achieve what you set out to do.”
2. Look at (Insert Sibling/Relative/Friend here)
Comparing children is never a good practice. Just as adults would not like to be compared, your child would not appreciate it either. Every child and adult has a unique individuality, different likes and different dislikes.
When you compare your child’s reactions or feelings toward school to another child, you immediately neglect your child’s feelings.
Suggestion: Encourage your child’s individuality. Re-check no. 1, allow your child you express their individuality and just let them know you’ll be there for them through their educational journey. They are not like anyone, they are themselves.
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Good Job! Nice !
Although this is the most tempting thing to say to your child, refrain from using these phrases.
For example, your child comes and says, “Mom, Dad, I’m excited to go back to school.” If you simply reply, “Nice” or “Good job,” this can invalidate your child’s feelings.
Suggestion: Show them you care, listen to them and show you heard what they said. A positive reply could be, “What are you most excited about for returning to school?” Continue the conversation and acknowledge what they have said.
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