When your young child doesn’t want to go to school it can cause stress for the whole family. Here are our top tips of things to try when drop off times get emotional.
1) Talk to them
Sounds simply right. We don’t mean ‘whats the matter’ and ‘why don’t you want to go in’ These questions are too big for an already confused child to answer. Nothing effective is ever a quick fix in parenting, these things may take some time to come out. Ask them some seemingly random questions like ‘who did you sit next to at lunch today’, ‘ who made you laugh today’ ‘ who is the loudest in your class’, or ‘ who is the child the teacher is always asking to sit still’.
Get a really good feel for how THEY feel their day is going. Once you build the dialogue and trust you can find out all sorts of stuff about what is happening.
2) Buy your child some ‘worry dolls’
If they are finding it hard to open up to you then perhaps they will talk to their worry dolls. The idea is they tell the dolls their worries and it helps them disappear.
3) Don’t get emotional
By all means sob your heart out around the corner, but if a child picks up that you are scared and anxious they sometimes they feel that too. Project confidence. You can say things like ‘ The teachers are here to look after you, if there is anything you want to talk about during the day, tell your teacher’
4) Talk to the teacher
Teachers should be empathetic that some children are finding it hard. They generally have plenty of strategies to try; jobs in class room, a buddy etc. This is your child, ensure you get the support you both need from the school.
5) Love bomb
Essentially if your child is unhappy about going to school due to the separation from you. Sometimes this will show at other times too, if you go out before their bedtime or leave them at the weekends. Perhaps your child is missing you. Love Bombing is all about spending quality 1-1 time with your child, on their terms, really making them know how much you love them, unconditionally.
6) Take time at bedtime to connect.
Linking in some of the points above, children often won’t open up to you until they feel connected to you. If you rush home from work, giving them the 3rd degree about their day then they probably won’t tell you. How many times have you heard ‘don’t know’ ‘can’t remember’ when you ask how their day has been. Bedtime is a great time to open up. Talk about other stuff over dinner, let them have a relaxing bath stories, then allow an additional 15 mins or so to chat. Obviously don’t force anything, but at the least you can just gently say ‘ you know, you can tell me anything, you can trust me, I love you’.
Give it time and repeat all of the above. It WILL happen and one day they will be skipping into school and enjoying it.