‘I don’t want to go to school.’
Have you heard this, this week? Autumn is coming in Germany and the mornings are darker and colder. For children, their every instinct is telling them to snuggle under the covers with a well-loved soft toy. Just for five more minutes…
Why the rush? They just don’t get it. When you are present as a child is, the rush to get to the next place just does not make any sense, especially when it is so comfy and cosy right where you happen to be.
When I hear the words ‘I don’t want to go to school,’ I first remember that I used to say the same thing.
Then I remember my child is not trying to be difficult or to wind me up, she is genuinely expressing how she feels. It may just be how she feels in that moment, but it is for her what is going on in that moment.
So how do you move the immovable? How do you get out of the front door in time without completely losing the peace of the day in an attrition of nagging?
Some ideas (and believe me, I am still working on this thing)
- Set an intention for how you want your morning start to be – calm, smooth, loving, greeting the day, grateful, natural, gentle. Choose one intention.
- Talk to your child about what a good morning would be like at a time when they are well rested.
- Make sure that they have a chance of being warm when they get out of bed if at all possible. I grew up in a drafty Victorian house in Scotland so understand there are constraints to this!
- An audio book playing can ease into the day. Stephen Fry reading Paddington is a good place to begin or for older children Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter. There are also some free Beatrix Potter podcasts from the BBC.
- Make it a game where you can. Adding playfulness can help on some days.
- Stay as calm as you can yourself. Take a moment to yourself if it is getting too much. Put your hand on your heart and remind yourself ‘this is not about me’.
- Breakfast needs to be simple and nutritious. Weekdays are not pancake days in our house.
- Bend the rules where it does not really matter – Take two soft toys to school – why not? Breakfast picnic? Of course.
- Talk about things to look forward to in the day. Talk about what the child is going to do that day.
- Prepare lunches the night before.
- Listen to music or an audio-book in the car.
- Don’t watch TV in the morning. Cartoons or the news can make things more frantic.
- Remember the difficulty in getting up and the resistance might be a developmental phase.
- Communicate – find out what is bothering your child about going to school (not when they are tired)
- Keep in communication with the school and your child’s teacher.
- Make sure your child is getting enough sleep for their age.
- Scooters can help on the last bit of the journey.
- Have a routine / order of doing things.
- Get up early enough that there is enough time for a slow morning. I get up at 6am and my daughter gets up at 6.30am to leave the house at five to eight in the morning.
- Where possible consider the school run when buying or renting a house.
Always have a cup of tea (I like chai) when you get home.
So what about you, how do you approach things when your child says ‘I don’t want to go to school?’ Let me know in the comments below.