I’ve been sharing my tips for helping your kids when they aren’t happy at school, as Curly headed boy was struggling (he has just started reception). Here is another one of my tips, which has worked surprisingly well, and might be useful if you have kiddies not keen on returning to school after the half term.
First you do need to know your child quite well. My boy loves to have special times that have been thought through and organised for him, the whole ‘quality time’ thing. It can be anything as simple as a picnic in the garden, playing a puzzle game together, or promising and following through with playing football. On the last day of the Christmas holidays I took him and Little Dimples to our local children’s farm, which also has an indoor soft play and a fake ice rink. I knew it wouldn’t be busy as his school started a few days after most schools for some reason, so we had time to play outside and then pop inside for lunch. It was all about him, very relaxed and mellow, with no other plans for the whole day.
I was really worrying about the next day. The holidays had given us plenty of time to reflect and I’d realised that things were a lot worse than I thought. I was looking for something to give him a sense of a treat and also security. On the way out I didn’t rush through the shop as I would normally do, instead we meandered around. I found a fab magnetic board with some of the words that he has been learning, and another one with pictures of fruit/veg and the days for him to record his 5-a-day (it’s amazing how school telling him to eat 5-a-day has worked more than me!). Then I saw it. A cute little monkey that he made a beeline for.
Let me back track a little. At the end of the last term he got a present from Santa at school, which was a little beanie monkey. He was really chuffed because he’d actually been sick, but it got delivered by a friend, and he ADORED this monkey all christmas. He’s been talking about family and tried to find lots of other monkey teddies to make a family for his new monkey. I realised he has a big affinity for monkeys (we did call him cheeky monkey for ages), as we did have several monkeys. I’d actually been searching on the internet for another beanie monkey just incase we lost this one he had grown so attached to.
So this was perfect, another monkey, which I suggested could be a ‘special’ monkey to go in the car with him to school (no teddies allowed in school). Then we saw a monkey key ring, and I’ve seen the girls with key rings, so here was the monkey who could go into school with him. Suddenly there was a monkey at home sitting by his bed, a monkey in the car and a monkey in his school bag for him, to give a sense of continuity and security. Then at the weekends they call come together, like a family does.
We are coming up to half-term and he doesn’t seem to rely on them as much, but they are still there on the days that he is tired or a little unsure, like this monday when he didn’t want to go because of a ‘zombie’ game the kids had played on friday. Thinking about it, I’ve often seen children (boys too) with teddies or comforters in the car. My children have often used me as a comforter because of the breast feeding rather than a muslin, so this was almost something I had to teach Curly Headed Boy to do.
So basically what I did was:
- Have a fun last day of the holidays, so that the last day is something to look forward to. Very focussed on the type of child that Curly Headed Boy is.
- Think of something that means something to him and he is really fond of i.e. monkeys
- Find a way of giving him that security on the way to school, and at school
Here are some more ideas for different types of kids, but first a warning. My Mum used to take me to KFC for the first and last day of term. I strongly recommend you don’t use food as the treat, because I still get the urge for a KFC whenever I’m about to face a ‘first’ something. I wish she hadn’t done the chocolate bar treat for finishing a couple of hours of revision too; and my bum wishes it even more!
- For kids who like quality time: Hows about a ‘girly day’ with a hair cut and coffee, or a picnic (on the kitchen floor if it’s cold), make something crafty.
- For kids who like to be given presents: Hows about a little toy (it can be one of those pocket money ones that only cost £1) or making them little notes to put in their lunch bag when they open it up at school, or a pack of stickers.
- For kids who like physical touch: Make sure you spend lots of time cuddled up with them during the day, watch a film, tickle them, have a bath together.
- For kids who need to be told they are great: Tell them how proud you are of them going to school, and why they make a great friend for the other kids, and why they are doing well at school.
- For kids who like things to be done for them: Hows about a lovely family lunch, making a cake together, getting their stuff ready and making sure that there is no reason to worry in the morning.
If you want some tips on getting to know yourself and your children better, then I really recommend signing up for my newsletter (see right hand side of blog), as the free online course will not be available for new members after next week. Even better would be to sign up for my free webinar which is next week, and will give you a secret to ensuring your children end up with lives they love and reaching their full potential.
Oh, that reminds me, I also made sure that his favourite CD’s were in the car and gave up on listening to anything decent for several weeks. Music definitely has an affect on our emotions, so I recommend having songs they enjoy, or that give them that sense of security because they know them so well. I use music in the mornings when I’m knackered to get me moving, it is amazing what a tune can do to our emotional state.
Feel free to share your tips for making the school run less worrisome for your children, it would be great to hear more.