Summer is officially over. Backpacks and school supplies are bought. (Thanks Target!). The drop off/pick up line is already a mess.
As excited as I was for my daughter to start first grade, I dread what the school year may bring because my daughter despises school.
Already, I know. And I know I am not the only parent fearing this school year.
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For many parents, with school comes daily struggles of dealing with kids waking up and getting dressed in the morning.
Not to mention the hours wasted on homework that should have taken five minutes. I have nightmares of common core math.
My daughter throws fits and I get so frustrated with her that I give up more often than I should.
My daughter has been going to some sort of “school” since she was about eight months old. It’s hard for parents to let go at such a young age, but there is always the hope that being in school at an early age will encourage your kid to want to excel and love to learn.
When my daughter was in preschool, I started to see that she was not enjoying the learning aspect of school.
Even in preschool, they would conduct tests on the kids to see how they were in terms of going into kindergarten. You would think that your child should be worrying about which friends to play with and not what test score they got.
One day I picked up my daughter from preschool and her face was red and she had tears in her eyes. I asked her what happened and she told me in her tiny voice that she didn’t get it.
She had trouble counting and pronouncing words correctly. I knew this and did my best to help but wanted to be optimistic for my daughter.
“Well you’re going to get it!” I told her.
But my heart shattered in a million pieces. She was too young to already feel insecure about herself.
My excitement about my daughter being in school then turned into dread and anxiousness.
As a parent with a child who doesn’t like school, there is always the first thought in the morning of, “Will she be okay in school today?” and “What battle do we face today?”
This whole school process is a new experience for both of us. My daughter is my one and only child and I have no idea how to tackle this as a mom. I loved going to school as a kid and I want my daughter to love school just as much. She can learn so much, especially about herself, and meet lifelong friends.
I remember being a mess on my daughter’s first day of kindergarten because my little butterfly was spreading her wings and officially on her own.
But then the following week came the eight letter word many parents dread: homework. Who knew kindergartners had homework? That word makes sweat instantly accumulate on my forehead.
And homework was the biggest hurdle with school. Many times, my daughter would look at a page in her homework packet and just stare.
Then one day, it clicked for me as a mom.
“Didn’t your teacher go over this in class with you?” I asked her.
“Yeah, but I just don’t remember,” she said as her eyes swelled up with tears.
She was overwhelmed and at that moment my eyes swelled up with tears as well. I gave my daughter a hug and told her I am always here to help her. We took a break from homework and were able to finish it later on.
That day, it wasn’t worth the fight.
As a parent, all you can do is encourage your child and say it’s okay to be frustrated.
Children are learning not only about education, but also just dealing with basic life skills like tying their shoes and making their bed. It can be a lot to process and take in.
Kids need to feel supported by their parents and told to keep trying. And that’s what I continue to do with my daughter because that is what she needs the most.
I find encouragement when I talk with other parents about their own struggles with their kids and school. The kids not wanting to wake up and coming home upset about a friend not wanting to play. It helps to find people who can relate and talk to about it.
My kid and I have a long road ahead of us when it comes to school.
I want her to go to college and get a degree, like I did. I want her to have endless opportunities, meet fascinating people and find what gets her creative juices flowing.
Parents have the toughest job in the world. Parents have to keep their kids happy and safe at all times, at least that’s what they strive for. School is just another journey in which you will learn new things about your kid and yourself.
So far, I’ve learned my daughter and I will always be learning whether it’s about school or ourselves, but ultimately it will make our bond stronger.
The whining about getting up early, begging not to go school and arguments about homework will most likely always happen. But for the sake of our kids, all parents can do is hang in there and give it our best, just like we expect our kids to.
One school day at a time.