Going to school for the first time is quite an experience for the child… and of course parents. My son, K, has had an “exciting” first week in school. This is the first time in his almost three years of life going to kindergarten and mixing with a group of strangers who are called teachers and friends.
Here are the highlights of the week in K’s first week of school life.
Excited to go to school. He had no inkling of what a school was like. I thought having an elder sister in the same kindy was a better idea. Apparently, it’s not. J said she didn’t want to go to school after coming home on the first day. Upon further investigation, she revealed that she didn’t like K to keep looking for her in school (even though they are in different class). In fact, K cried a few times and wanted to look for J in school. We were thinking J would be okay with K in the same school. But now, it seems that we have two problems.
K refused to get up and dressed up for school. He cried and cried. He told us he didn’t want to go. We had no choice but to “force” him to go to the school. He struggled. I felt bad about the whole situation but did I have a choice? After picking the kids up from school, the teacher said K is better than yesterday. K did a hand painting in school and he didn’t look for his sister anymore. The teacher said we have to give K one week to settle down.
K woke up with a happy mood. But he said he wanted to stay at home and didn’t want to go to school. I asked him why. “School no fun.” was his answer. He wanted to dress casual but not uniform. I gave him a bear hug to assure him that it’s fun to go to school. I told him I wanted to hug him just to keep him warm. I offered his favorite biscuits if he dressed up. While having his breakfast, he again emphasized that he didn’t want to go to school. I told him he had two options. He either goes to the nanny’s or he goes to school.
He told me, “Home.”
“No. You have only two choices. Nanny’s or school.” I said, “Just as the last time, you went to the nanny’s and J went to school. Then daddy fetched you from the nanny’s in the evening. If you go to the nanny’s, I will fetch you home in the evening. If you go to school, I will fetch you at noon.”
Thinking that going to school is “a while” only, K agreed to go to school. But he hesitated again while putting on his shoes and was about to leave home. Then I told him when he came home from school, I would get his favorite noodle. He only then agreed to go.
No struggling today. He went to the car nice and quiet.
When I fetched K from school, the teacher said he was doing well. Only minor hiccups in the morning. Beside that, K was doing okay.
K woke up without any fuss. He mildly said he didn’t want to go to school. Just once, I think. The only fuss he made was he wanted to finish his breakfast even though he was running late. Wife offered to pack the leftover to school and only he calmed down. Today was the same as the first day when he waved goodbye to me. Another trick was I promised a short stay in school (to him half a day in school is short) and fried rice with mushroom after school.
Some positive signs can be seen. K was starting to enjoy school. He left for school in the way we wanted. Perfect!
Though he was “bullied” by a classmate in school, K was ignorant. That did not deter him from going to school at all.
As I am writing this, K is now in his third week of school. What can I say? Almost everyday when he comes home from school, he says, “I want to go to school tomorrow.”
I ask, “Why?”
“I *enjoy school.” replied K.
(* Heck, I didn’t even know he knew the word “enjoy”!)
He continued, “I can play with my friends.”
Also, K doesn’t look for J anymore in school. He has his own activities and friends. He has become more independent in school.
The only “hurdle” for him to go to school is he complains lack of sleep in the morning. But that can be easily overcome.
Comparing with the first week, what a huge improvement we can see in K. If you have kid refusing to go school, try to emphasize the fun of going to school. Don’t use threats to force him to go to school. And do not stay in the school if your child cries while you send him off. This tends to make things worse. Be cruel and leave. Your child will settle in no time… or at least give it a fair try for a week like what happened to K.
Besides school, this is the next best gift a parent can give to children: teaching children about money.