Kindergarten can scare your child
In general, children are happy to begin school and cannot wait to meet new friends. A few lucky ones will be anxious to read and will ask their parents to tell stories about their own school days.
For others, despite your efforts, school will be disappointing and your child may want to go home as soon as he enters the class. It could even affect his digestion and he could develop stress during the evenings that precede school days. Some children even hide to avoid school and tell their mom that it was not nice to lie about this place that is no fun at all.
If your child is not in school yet, don’t forget to tell him that school is serious and he will have to stay focused and listen to his teacher for long periods of time. It will make it easier for your child to adapt to a routine that is much more strict than what he is used to.
If he is already in school, listen to him but avoid being overly understanding as it could give him further reasons to be afraid. Explain that he must give it some time and as he will learn new things and meet new friends, he will also learn to like school. Still, you can talk to his teacher who will tell you about his behavior and his integration. It will help you assess the impact of your actions.
You will not see much
You are probably used to knowing everything about your child. It is more obvious if you are a stay-at-home mom but it is also true if you send your child to daycare. For years, educators who know everything about your child have been telling your little tales of the day, you’ve seen little recitals and you were told about the joys and sorrows of your child. All this is over and done with as school starts. You will leave your child at the door and he will go in alone, like a big boy. In the evening, he will come back through the same door with supervisors who will not know much about your child’s day.
For a while, you may feel down and out and if your child tends to keep everything to himself, you will suddenly feel excluded from an important part of his life. If you want to learn more about your child’s activities, do not hesitate to fully use his agenda to ask questions to his teacher. Also, take notes so you will not forget anything during the parent-teacher meeting. You will feel better and your confidence will help your child gain more independence.
Your child may not learn…
… to read in kindergarten. He may not know where Africa is in 2nd grade either. But although you may be tempted to help his teacher a little, keep in mind that a child who knows a lot of the notions may get bored when his teacher only repeats what he already knows. Our own schooling leaves an impression that our child could learn much faster than he actually does. Remember that keeping children interested is also a priority and let teachers decide about the learning pace. You will have many occasions to help with homework and nothing stops you from teaching your child other things about art, nature, cooking or any other subject that can be observed in everyday life. It will give him ideas to write stories and prepare school projects.
Teachers are all different
We all have good and bad memories of our teachers. The kind Mrs. McDonald, the angry Mr. Vibert or that teacher whom we still talk about every time we get the chance. But we often forget that these memories are only pieces of a much longer period during which all of our teachers had glorious moments and moments that they would like to forget about. Being a teacher requires a lot of patience and finesse and it is better if you teach your child to respect his own teacher.
It is also normal for your child to get along with some people better than with others. Even though you always want your child to have good days, he will not get along with all of his teachers and both you and your child will have to deal with it. That is what makes our school years so memorable and the respect that your child will learn with your help will allow him to learn from all kinds of people. It will also have an impact on the respect he shows you and sooner or later you will appreciate it.
It is possible to get involved
To better understand the environment in which your child evolves and to get to know the school staff, you can spend some time within the school walls. You don’t have to be there every week to get involved: field trips, lectures, volunteering at the school library are all ways to meet parents, teachers and the school director in a less formal context. These days will give you something to talk about with your child and they will give him landmarks to set the mood when he will tell you stories.