I Don’t Want to Go Back to School

Sep. 22022

Once again the school year is approaching. Whether you’ve been through this twenty times or this is your first experience, getting children ready for school can be a painful experience. Let’s look at some of the problems and consider the possible solutions.

The effect of the pandemic has made a lot of children comfortable with being home and giving lip service to schoolwork. Most parents are aware that teachers were unable to grade properly when students were learning at home, and the teachers can tell you that many of their students were not paying attention and not doing their homework. As bad as getting our children to take school seriously after a summer break always was, it’s many times worse for those who have been essentially slacking off for two years. Not all kids have this problem, but there are many who do. Some of the parents have decided they like the challenge and control of home schooling, and they have taken over the education of their children. I cannot argue the merits and problems of home schooling here. Suffice to say it is one solution to this problem that can work. For the rest of the families there is an urgent need for parents to support their children’s teachers and develop a relationship with them so that children don’t think they can get away with anything by pitting their parents against their teachers. Believe me, your children need you to be their teachers’ advocate if you possibly can.

Another issue, especially for younger children, is something that we call separation anxiety. What this means is that your children may go into a panic when you try to leave them in the classroom. We see separation anxiety in many different circumstances. In children who have lost a parent or been adopted or had a serious illness, separation anxiety can be a life-long issue. Often special therapy may be necessary for these children to understand how to deal with their fears and to learn that it isn’t their fault. For little ones who do not have a lot of experience with dealing with separation and loss, watching the parent try to leave them can be an overwhelming feeling. There is no way to get them to understand logically that they will be fine. The parent needs to provide a calm and reassuring attitude and leave the child with the teacher, who has assuredly had lots of experience interesting your child in activities while you walk out the door. Mom or Dad, if you are crying or acting uncomfortable, you are not helping. You can do all the crying once you’re out the door. In the meantime, try to be the one who receives the Oscar for Best Interpretation of a Calm Parent.

I was very lucky that my wife was really more detail-oriented than I was. She knew what materials the kids needed to take to school, what the teachers recommended, and what clothing might be appropriate. We can argue about this, but I wish that all schools had uniforms. It would make life so much easier for parents! In the meantime, it’s no fun being a parent of a middle schooler. Whatever clothing choice you make is going to be wrong. Nevertheless, until your child is buying his or her own clothes, you get the final say. It can get very expensive finding clothes for kids that are outgrowing what you buy every three months. Have a calm discussion with your child about what you can reasonably buy for them and do let them have some say once they get into the middle school years.

Finally, make sure that your children have received all their vaccines. Not just Covid, but all the vaccines. Safety against infectious diseases requires a community to protect our children.

Meet the Author: CFPM
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