It’s that time of the year again. The long summer holidays (too long?) are drawing to an end and parents are frantically trying to get all the back to school necessities together in preparation for that first day back at school. Many parents will be sad the holidays are over, having cherished the time and adventures they’ve shared with their kids. Some will be pleased to see ‘the little darlings’ safely back at school and the responsibility of someone else for the day. Either way, remember that the new school year presents a new challenge to your children. Either they are just starting ‘big school’ (primary or secondary!) or they are going up a year, with a new teacher, new work, new expectations, new friendship groups and lovely new books, not forgetting all the not so good memories and relationships and worries they carried over from the previous year. Having spent 6 weeks re-moulding your children into the children you want, they will be going back into an environment that works to remould them back into what it wants. This environment is target driven. These hard working teachers, although they want the best for your children, do not have the time to parent them or look after their emotional and psychological wellbeing. Children relate to adults and peers as they have learned to relate to their parents and other members of their families in order to get their needs met. They will attempt the same strategies with adults in other environments. Sometimes this works great and sometimes it does not work so well at all. Children’s expectations will get met by the adults in their lives - whether that’s to be seen as a shining star, or to be seen as the naughty or disruptive one. Your expectations of them will probably also be met by the adults in the school.
So, as you iron the last shirt, sew name tags onto socks and check your supply of white socks, remember what it was like for you as you started a new job, or attempted something new for the first time. Remember how it was for you to fit in, to be a part of something, to please your boss. Remember your self-doubts and your pangs of nervousness. Your kids feel the same way too just going back to school. They will be excited to see their friends again and but they will probably be nervous too. Remember to give them that extra hug and let them know you will be ready and waiting to hear how their first day back was.