Parents Set the Stage For Successful or Troublesome First Days at School

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Consider this. It affects children deeply to hear someone they love declare repeatedly:
 
 
  • “I’ll be so glad when school starts and these kids are out of my hair.”
  • I can’t wait until these rug rats are gone.”

You’ve heard someone say it. You may have even said it yourself. Imagine the sting such a comment causes to the little ears that hear it. Then we wonder why children resent school. Even if you feel that way, must it be said outloud?

How much better it would be to not give voice to thoughts of much-anticipated peace and quiet. Later, when that day finally does arrive, you can celebrate with fist bumps and high-fives, or go out for a drink (a Coke, right?) or lunch and catch up on the latest.   It’s not going to hurt anyone if a hat is thrown or a cartwheel is done on the front lawn. On second thought, that last thing might have dire consequences!  🙂

At the other end of the spectrum, some parents groan, moan and, yes, even weep when faced with the coming school year; be it the first day or back-to-school day. They set up themselves and their children for all kinds of misery. These well-intentioned parents try to express love for their children by saying:

  • “I’m going to be so lonely.”
  • “Oh, how much I’m going to miss my little ones.”
  • “I’ll probably cry when they get on the bus.”
  • “I dread the day my babies go off to school.”

On hearing this, the children decide they must be responsible for their parents’ agony. Is it any wonder they wail and cling to their parents at home, in the car, or at the classroom door?  Instead, parents can assume an infectious, positive attitude and talk about their best memories of school … like favorite games, friends they made, and teachers they loved.

Am I promoting dishonesty? Absolutely not. I propose that parents practice a positive attitude and come up with good memories. If nothing else, describe the joy over new pencils, crayons, and books. Recall special events, sports programs, or music and art classes. Tell them about successes and remembered fun.

Next time, we’ll talk about reading to children before and after their birth. Plus, we’ll investigate how nursery rhymes, poetry, and silly songs help children learn the rhythm of language.