By Brenda Leeman, devoted mommy to Connor, aged 3, a Registered Counsellor with a passion for helping children. Chameleon Play Therapy Centre is her brainchild.
Oh goodness. Just when you thought life couldn’t get any more hectic, your little treasures are back at school. Now your job is to help them settle into a routine, feel confident and relax.
1. Help them feel responsible
Use this opportunity to start empowering your children. Make them responsible for getting themselves dressed in the morning. Implement a reward system for getting their homework done, as well as their chores if they have any. It will improve their sense of integrity and lift their self-confidence. For their achievement, children should also be allowed to choose their own rewards.
2. Be interested, not overbearing
Put your children’s interests on your interest list. No matter how irrelevant you think it is, it is so important for them. Chat to your children about their day at school, about what they liked or didn’t like, about who inspires them and who bores them. I know your days are busy, so use the time in the car on the drive home; or perhaps around the dinner table to talk to them about their school experience. It’s important to be interested in their lives, but not necessarily the problem-solver. If your child presents you with an issue they might be having at school, rather listen to them about their ideas on how to solve it. Positively reinforce any ideas they may have, even if you think they are doomed to fail. This is a learning opportunity for them, allow them the opportunity to learn from it.
3. Keep an eye open for return issues
If your child was having an emotional problem in the previous term, and it reappears now; it’s an indication that all is not well at school. There may be issues with teachers, or peers, or the work content in general. This will impact on their emotional well-being. If your child starts to react at home with temper tantrums, or severe emotional detachment, it may be a good idea to find out what’s going on. If you can’t get them to talk to you, consider taking them to a therapist. Any intervention will help improve their self-esteem, social skills, and even their school marks.
For parents of preschool children who are considering sending your children to “big school” next year, it is a good idea to get them tested for school readiness. This will give you an indication on whether they are ready for the intellectual challenge they are about to undertake.