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The kids have settled back into school well, but there have been little flares here and there with their behaviour. I have worked out that often there is more to the missing pen or sock than meets the eye.
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The kids have been back at school almost a week now and everyone seems to have settled in well. They like their new teachers and classrooms and have been talking excitedly about what they have been doing in class.

But this doesn’t mean that they don’t have worries, little anxieties and some degree of nervousness about their new school year.

I was reminded again this week how important it is at this time of the year to be observant of the kids. Talking less, listening more, watching them and showing physical affection.

When you think about it, it is pretty understandable that the kids may have some worries. As adults if we change jobs, even if it is within the same company, we worry about things like:
  • Can I do the work?
  • Will I like my colleagues?
  • Will my colleagues like me?
  • Will I have a good boss?
  • How does the team communicate?
  • How will I fit into the team?
I have seen all of these worries to some extent in the kids. But the thing is, they don’t come out and say it. How they say it depends on their personalities. Here are some examples and how their behaviour or words have been saying one thing but meaning something completely else:

What happened: It is 5 minutes before bedtime and someone has misplaced their highlighters. For some reason this is a big deal. There is a massive search, frustration, anger and resentment building. We don’t find the highlighters and the child goes off to bed very unhappy. 

What it meant: The highlighters were needed for a class that the child was worried about. Worried that he may not keep up. The highlighters weren’t the real issue they were a symbol of worry for a subject the child finds hard.

What happened: One child is listening to an audiobook on their iPod in their room. Another child comes in (who doesn’t share the room) to listen. The first child loses their mind, screaming at them to get out and that they are so annoying.

What it meant: The second child did nothing wrong. They weren’t being annoying and on many days during the school holidays would have done the exact same thing with no reaction from their sibling. The audiobook listening child is adjusting to a new school year and the bombardment of new faces, names, tasks and roles that comes with it. They just wanted some time on their own.

What happened: As I said goodbye at the school gate, out of nowhere came tears. "I am really tired" was the reason sadly said between sobs.

What it meant: The child wanted me to walk them into class. While they don’t normally want me to do this, the change of classroom has them a little apprehensive and the comfort of me taking them all the way to the classroom for the first week or so, is needed.

With some thought back to the start of school last year, I could have and did predict some of this behaviour. Some I didn't though, but I am aware of it now and can go into preventative mode. Preventative mode doesn’t mean tolerating intolerable behaviour, but it means taking into account their circumstances and managing home life as best I can for it to be a solid, comforting haven for them against the change they are experiencing at school.

For example I have cut them some slack on their after school jobs for the first couple of weeks. I have let them know that and explained it is so they can settle in and things will return to normal. This for example allows the youngest more time to sit and play LEGO before dinner and have some quiet time on his own. It allows the 8 year old to curl up on his bed with a book for longer.

If they are getting the quiet and calm time they need it is a win for me too. It means less fighting for me to have to deal with, less whining and crying and we can settle back into our new school routines without to much chaos.

How are your kids settling in back at school?

Nic

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