As parents it’s another tricky time in the academic calendar. The children are going back to school. They may be going to school for the first time or they may be starting senior school. Each of these events comes with its own pitfalls but your actions and reactions will shape the future of this experience.
Memory Masters and Mistresses
As grown-ups, we have a memory of how we felt on those school days. I have a distinct memory of going back to senior school when I could actually feel the season change from Summer to Autumn. It was the morning chill, the dampness in the air which just made it feel different. I also remember it being so hot on the way home I had to ditch the new school jumper, blazer and tie, all unceremoniously stuffed into my school bag.
As parents, if there were negative associations with going back to school (think double games in the rain) then we need to be mindful not to pass these associations to our children. Children believe what their parents tell them. They get their cues on a whole variety of social interactions from how their parents interact socially. If you don’t believe me listen to some of the conversations that children have with each other about their summer holidays. When children are commenting on the quality of the weather you know it’s their parents talking – children will play in all weather!
By giving your children a positive mindset approaching the new start of term, it will help them to look at their time at school as a pleasant experience. They will look forward to enjoying their days of learning, plus research has shown us time and time again that pleasure learning means long lasting learning.
Therefore, when your children are getting ready for school, give them all the positive cues you can even if your back to school days weren’t positive.
An attitude of gratitude
When they get home, make sure you ask them what was good about the day. By recalling positive experiences, it enforces those experiences and links the association to school. It could be seeing their friends after the summer break, it could be making new friends. It really allows our children to express their gratitude for their time at school.
If you didn’t have a great time at school then that’s OK too. A lot of us didn’t. For me, I’ve made my positive memories far outweigh my negative ones. Now when I talk to my children about school I tell them about those fond memories. I don’t want them to think that school can be an awful place, just because I had some bad experiences. Don’t influence their future by basing it on your past.
If you still have negative thoughts about school or your children are anxious about school issues then we can help – just contact us for an initial chat.