Written by: Nanny Secours
This morning, your children are super motivated. Yeah for the first day of school! There’s excitement in the air and everything seems to be going well. You prepared everything last night, thought of laying out each child’s new outfit, making snacks and, most importantly, a nice breakfast to celebrate this unforgettable day. The family has been getting ready for back to school for weeks. Everyone wakes up earlier to make sure to have enough time to do everything. It’s all going wonderfully, exactly as imagined. If only things stayed that way!
But as soon as your children get home from school, they’re already complaining about different things they didn’t like. It’s common and totally normal to complain, but you can already tell by what they’re saying that your kids are losing motivation to go to school. Phew, it’s going to be a long year, don’t you think?
What do you do? How do you feel? You thought you were doing the right thing by orchestrating that perfect morning which everyone seems to have already forgotten about! Rest assured you’re not the only family going through this type of situation. Many children love going to school, but it’s a big challenge for others.
So, what should you do? From my experience as a mother, it’s better to roll up your sleeves and get to work rather than give up. It’s time you establish a school routine: life is much simpler when everything is planned. A routine adapted to your family you can follow in the morning and evening will bring more successes.
Depending on your child’s age and level of independence, having a routine can be reassuring and encouraging. Write down all the important steps that must be accomplished in the morning and evening. If your school routine is clear, you’ll be able to help your children complete their tasks on time. Don’t hesitate to make changes to your routine and to have a discussion with your children if you think something could be improved. Nothing’s ever perfect!
Of course, with teenagers, pictograms aren’t necessary anymore, but it’s a good idea to clearly explain the basics to avoid any outbursts. Take time together to discuss how much time your teen needs to get ready and what has to get done. Now’s not the time to wake up at the last minute and rush your kids to eat and get dressed. Remember how the first day of school went!
To ensure your child or teenager is fully committed, try to maintain a positive, open and respectful relationship, even when the situation is hard to manage. Your most important tool as a parent is to exert a positive influence in your child’s life. Concretely, this means treating your child the same way teachers treat their students. How you approach a situation can change everything. You don’t like Monday mornings? Then, maybe your child won’t like them either! The words you use and your attitude toward a situation have a big impact on your motivation to accomplish a task and, especially, to participate. Take a big breath before saying anything and use a positive vocabulary.
If you encourage your children to self-reflect, they’ll be able to understand that committing to go to school is very important for their future. All the efforts made throughout their schooling will lead to different paths. Depending on your child’s age and maturity, you can initiate discussions by using statements that are realistic and lead to reflect. At first, you might think that pushing your child to reflect on the long term won’t have any effect. On the contrary, this helps children set goals and understand why they go to school. Honestly, would you go to work if you weren’t getting paid, or would you go back to school just like that, without any specific goal?
With every new day, your child has to deal with the unknown and novelty, which can be major stressors for children. That’s why parental support is crucial during this learning period. Just like someone starting a new job, children need support and help to do things right. They will also appreciate you underlining and acknowledging their successes and efforts at the appropriate times. Staying informed, getting involved, staying in contact with their teacher and school, or helping with their schoolwork are all ways to show your children you are interested in what they do. Try varying your kids’ learning activities: they can learn while playing games or enjoying a bike ride. Remember to take every opportunity to lead your children to develop their potential and believe in themselves!
Before being able to walk, children fall several times. What did you do when your child tried to stand up and fell? Most parents comfort their children and encourage them to try again. These steps make a lot of sense! Did your youngest learn to walk the same way as your eldest? Probably not, and that’s totally normal. Every child is unique. And so is the way they learn about life every day. Most of the time, children learn by making mistakes. Parents must simply allow their kids to get back on track and do better next time. Lowering expectations is also a good idea since children are constantly learning, which can be quite demanding. Everyone has a bad day once in a while!
Hopefully, you’re now better equipped and more motivated to implement a school routine adapted to your child in the morning and the evening. Try repeating what worked well on the first day of school and eliminating what caused problems.
The key to success is to cultivate tenacity and perseverance!
Family Social Worker
Member of Réseau Nanny Secours