Negotiating the first weeks of the new school year


If your children are struggling to bounce out of bed with unlimited enthusiasm because they are taking a bit longer to adjust to their (new) school, class or teacher, acknowledge their sadness and talk to them about what they are feeling.

A young boy I once chatted to said to me : “my mom says I don’t like my new teacher, but how can I like him I barely know him?” Words of wisdom from a 10 year old. I have thought about this a lot since we had that conversation and am cautious about asking my children or any child…do you like your teacher? Think of other ways to engage about your child’s teacher.

Watch your use of adjectives and value laden words- ‘you are going to big school’ or making the teacher out to be the ‘big bad wolf’. Develop some rituals and routines that provide comfort but without being rigid ( it’s not humanly possible for a child to go to bed at the same time every night.)

Khalil Gibran when asked about children : ‘You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you…’ Read this more than once when choosing extra murals, after school activities, sporting opportunities, when reading their results, the list is endless.

Try not to compare yourself to other parents, they are not judging you they are deeply concerned about their own children. If they are judging you- then that’s really problematic for their own children -as they are not focussing their energy where they should.

Try not to obsess about play dates I don’t necessarily think Aristotle and Plato had play dates, this is a very middle class phenomenon, some children will make good friends quickly, some will make friends more slowly what you want your child to do is develop around the biggest diversity the species can offer and delight in their and their friends differences! When we arrange play dates we also challenge the natural order of friendships that develop because of proximity, common interests and even because of perceived ‘boredom.’

Your children need time playing on their own- even without you. It’s invaluable for children to learn to be on their own this helps the introverts and shy children who have spent the better part of their day in a busy classroom in a busy playground surrounded by lots of children and people, regroup. It helps the extroverts who love interaction to learn what silence and aloneness feels like so that it is not so foreign when it is required of them in life.

At the beginning of every school year there are new skills to acquire, routines to establish, subjects, homework,sports, musical instruments and extra murals to learn. So, when talking about your child and when talking to them a word of caution : Please do not use the word never to describe what they can do as in …they will never be able to… As an adult you would not say I will never break my arm, because you just don’t know…with children there are things we just don’t know either so instead of using a limiting set of beliefs as your reference point, choose the opposite…endless possibilities…


About Rose-Anne Reynolds

I am a Full-Time PhD Student at the University of Cape Town, with research interests in the Philosophy of Child and Childhood. I am passionate about inclusion, children, philosophy with children, embracing diversity, multilingualism, tolerance, joy and love in abundance.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Negotiating the first weeks of the new school year

  1. Linda Sivitilli says:


    Sent from my iPad


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s