Going back to school the trauma!
I don’t know whether this will resonate with many other parents out there but it’s certainly true in my house. Now don’t get me wrong my two boys are by no means angels but I am reasonably strict with them and expect a certain level of behaviour and on the whole they are pretty good boys. They are now 6 & 8 so have just gone back to school into year 2 and year 4.
Obligatory start of year photo:
Like many parents out there I worry about them going back after such a long summer holiday, my boys like routine and it’s always a bit of an adjustment. I wonder
- if they’ll like their new teacher
- will they cope with the work
- will they be sat next to their friends
I love the school they go to and the teachers are absolutely fantastic I really couldn’t ask for better. Yes I have a couple of gripes like any parent but overall it’s a great environment. They’ve been at school since they were 3 & 4 as the youngest went to the kindergarten year so they know it inside out and most of the teachers. I don’t know why I worry so much, they couldn’t wait to go back and see all their friends. In truth they were getting bored being at home with me.
They came bounding out of school on the first day, so excited, they told me all about their new teachers and what they had done during the day. I was quite surprised as ususally when I pick them up and ask them what they did I get the stock response “I can’t remember” or “I don’t know”. I was quite excited that this year maybe be different to every other new school year, they even sat down and did their homework nicely.
Pick up on day two and I’ve still got two excited boys who are happy and chatty. I think this is going well and as the weather is nice told them if they did their homework quickly we could go to the park before tea. This is when it all started to go wrong, the 8 year old was doing his homework and I went to help him and check it once I’d finished reading with the 6 year old. I pointed out a couple of wrong answers as he’d miss read the question … all hell then started to break loose. Books were thrown, pages were ripped (by him not me) shouting ensued (from both of us) I was back to being the mean monster making him do something that was too difficult.
I sat with him for a while trying to calm him down and explain that it was an easy mistake to make, this is what the question meant and we could look at the words together to work out the answers. His response was to stare blankly at the table. Clearly the tantrum escalated and he got sent to his room.
I forget that this happens every year for the first 4 weeks of the new term, my children turn into complete monsters. When the oldest first started school I remember being completely shocked, what had happened to my happy 4 year old and why was he being so horrid. I even went to speak to the school to ask what their structure was during the day, was it to much for him, were we pushing him too hard. They assured me this was not the case, at school he was behaving impeccably it was just when I got him home.
I was actually getting quite distressed by the whole thing and I couldn’t believe the change in him. I spoke to my mum about it and she gave me some really good advice, apparently I was exactly the same!
“You can’t expect your child to behave all the time. At school they are behaving and doing what they should be. When they get home they need to let off steam.”
You know what she is completely right, surprise, surprise. At school it’s not just about working hard, it’s about the concentration and the structure of the routine that they are in. Have any of you been in an all day meeting, conference or training session and come out completely knackered? This is what the kids are going through on a daily basis and it takes time for them to adjust.
For my boys the first half term is always the worst, I try not to arrange playdates and give them some more down time with ipads and toys than usual, they just need to chill out. I also cut out any late nights on the weekend and get back into the bedtime routine of shower, story and cuddles, in bed at 7:30.
I had hoped that this year may have been better now they are a bit older but think I was just kidding myself, wishful thinking. I also need to remember to be a lot more patient with them over the next month, this is pretty difficult with my current pregnancy hormones and short fuse! I need to let the little things go and chill out about life in general, so there’s a bit of mess or they didn’t get a chance to finish their homework but they did some of it, it’s not going to kill anyone.
So for any other parents out there with kids starting school or returning to school I think this nightmare behaviour is quite normal. It does get better and they will settle back into the routine and be back to their happy selves … in about a month!