Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again… Ok, so it is from a Christmas song but it rings true after a long summer break as well. The aisles and aisles of school clothes, backpacks, lunch bags, pens and pencils can only mean one thing…it is time for school. Even for those with pre-school aged children have to acknowledge that there is something magical about the start of the school year. If for no other reason than school means fall and for those of us in Vegas it means the end of sizzling summer temperatures.
So, what to do we do with young pupils reticent about going or returning to school? My seven year old will be returning to first grade this year and is not too eager. I try to remind him that he will see his friends and get to do some of his favorite activities. He complains he will miss me and is afraid of all the tests. The challenge is to curb the fears and instill a life-long love of learning…right? I realize now that acknowledging his fears instead of brushing them aside might have been a better tactic to start. His concerns are real and teaching him how to face down his fears is a far more important lesson than making sure he is excited about the beginning of first grade.
Since my attempts to alleviate his fears were unsuccessful I have since attempted to validate them. First grade will be his first exposure to tests and grades. It is indeed a scary thing but I assured him they will be tests on the things he has learned and the grades are merely a measure of how well he understands the information. This may seem too logical or even mature but he seemed more responsive to this tactic. I also assured him that I would miss him too but that is part of what makes summer so special. I also let him in on the secrets of learning by reminding him he will be able to read, spell and compute more after this year and that will lead to other “cool” stuff for next summer. I don’t know that he is excited for school but maybe he is a little less unhappy about it.
Now, my four year is much easier. He is excited to go to the “marble school.” This is what he has coined his pre-school class. Whatever works! I am sure that I have not avoided the fear yet. It may not be on the first day or week but eventually he too, will express a dislike for school. I am doing my best to capitalize on his current excitement by making the start of the school year an exciting family time. I am psyching him up for the joys of preschool. Who knows…maybe I will get lucky…if not I think I will try honestly and a little tough love…and a whole lot of tissues.
Best of luck on a beautiful fall and a great start to this school year! See you at the clubhouse!