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Why Getting Kids To Open Up About Their School Worries Is So Important

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This time last year I wrote about the start of the new school term and how quick it had come round. Well here we are again, it’s already nearly here. 

Last year’s article was about my son and his transition to junior school, his way of coping and me being in tears when I got home. I wonder how many people started having conversations with their children about starting new phases of their education early. Or was it best to leave it until after you had your holiday? Or just leave it until after our day out? Maybe it was best left until you were preparing for return, buying school uniform will reassure them, won’t it? Surely that will trigger them to talk about any worries they may have and they will let you know then.

For me hindsight really was a wonderful thing. I thought my son was ok and not worried about going to junior school as he hadn’t mentioned anything to me. Looking back I put so much focus on my career and enjoying the holidays with my children, but maybe I should have focussed more on making sure they were okay with the changes they would be going through.

It’s always easy to put the enjoyable things before the important things. We want children to enjoy the activities they will experience through the holidays, after all, those memories will hopefully last a lifetime. They won’t be young for long, you want them to experience as many activities and places as possible. That time you get with them is precious, they grow up too quick and all of a sudden being with mum is not cool. However, we don’t want upsetting experiences to last a lifetime either, finding the balance is difficult as a parent, especially as time is also so precious now.

Late October this year, my first grandchild will arrive, it seems a lifetime ago now I was taking my children on their summer holiday trips out, making their memories for them. This event has crept up on me, without any warning. Just like the day my son started his new school.

I will use my past experience to ensure I make time to speak with my son about anything that might worry him. Even if he doesn’t open up to me I will word my questions differently to ensure I am able to get him to open up.

They say being a grandparent puts you in a privileged position, I suppose it does. Being able to spend time with my grandchild and talk about things without the pressure of being time-poor. I also won’t have the worry about making their memories through their summer holidays. That will be my son’s job now. I just need to make sure I am able to have conversations upfront and be there to listen and reassure both my son and grandchild. It’s important to know that, it doesn’t matter who children open up and talk to, it just matters that they are not keeping worries inside.

When we forget to speak to children, and they don’t open up, some of the issues that worry them become deep-rooted. I spoke with my son about last year’s article after it was published, he said he didn’t really remember his first day at junior school. Maybe he is fortunate and wasn’t really affected by the experience, or maybe after all these years he still doesn’t want to admit he was upset.

Well this year, sitting here, I am not welling up about my son, although it always brings a lump to my throat, thinking about his little face and being brave in front of his friends. I hope you have a great summer, make some wonderful memories for your children and keep having those conversations. Just because they are not saying anything, doesn’t mean they are not worried about anything.

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