You've likely done your back to school shopping – the new backpacks and lunch boxes are ready to go and some new clothes are in the laundry ready to be washed for the first day of school. But what about what YOU need to do to get ready for school? I don't mean research top lunch box ideas or make sure you have enough kleenex on hand when your first time kindergartener walks through the school gates, my list covers much more than that.
Have you prepared yourself for a new school year? As a parent, having your kids start or go back to school brings up a lot of challenges for parents and my recommendation is that you take the time before the first day of school to prepare with this checklist.
Do you know what to say if your child comes home from school and says:
Some kids may not face any of these issues/situations, some kids may face more than one. I'm not writing this to scare you, quite the opposite. I know that when I have been caught off guard by a tough question from one of my kids, I always wish I could have paused the moment and had some time to think about my response (wouldn't that be nice!) So take the time now and think about what your response to the situations above might be.
And all the scenarios listed above are part of growing up. Part of learning life skills and supporting self esteem and empathy. As a parent these scenarios can put your heart in your throat (whether your child is feeling sad or is the one making another child feel sad) and its hard to not let your own childhood experiences factor into your response or to go into protective mode which sometimes leads to a response you wish you could change later on.
It's not about putting your child in a bubble either. These are real scenarios that are very common place. You can't avoid them getting their feelings hurt at some point but you CAN be prepared with a response that works for you and your child, works with the parenting and families values you have at home and provides them with some tools to work through the situation.
If you are looking for resources, Barbara Coloroso is one of my favourite parenting experts or you can access the Oakville Parent Child Centre for parenting support or call 311 in Halton and speak to a public health nurse with Halton Parents and get any questions answered (prenatal right through to teen).