Getting back to school is an important step for your child and it comes with a wide range of emotions. The discovery of his new class and his teachers, the interactions with his classmates are often a source of excitement, joy but also of worry.
Indeed, change and separation can generate sadness or anxiety. It is therefore necessary to support children and listen to them in order to understand all these changes. Welcoming their affect and their emotions is to make sense of what they are going through.
Each step towards school is a step towards the path of the grown-ups, because growing up means gradually learning to separate from others, to gain autonomy and live new experiences.
But separation is not always easy because it activates fear and can create insecurity. Isn't being separated from your parents running the risk of no longer being loved? It is also complicated from a parent's point of view, because entrusting your child to school implicitly recognises that one is more essential than it seemed before. After the separation, the parent may, like the child, feel the fear of no longer being loved.
In order to live this moment as peacefully as possible and reduce an emotional load that may be too strong, you can:
Remind your child that your bond is unwavering and that he is always in your heart when you are not with him, use transitional objects (eg: blanket), talk about reunion as a happy moment. This will help him feel secure.
Give him visual and precise references to situate himself during the day, because the young child does not yet master the notion of time. When the child leaves his parents, they promise to see him again later. However, your child does not yet have an intellectual representation of what this means. Give him precise references and use visual aids ; relying on routines will allow him to situate himself during the day.
Remind him that very often in a day, he is separated from you (when you go to work, run errands, when he goes to his room, or to play with a friend...). He is therefore familiar with this process. Making connections with similar experiences helps to qualify the idea of separation.
Questions or anxiety can relate to different topics depending on the children; It is therefore important to create a space for them to speak out so that they can communicate and share their concerns. Back to school is always an emotional event for both children and parents, it is necessary to stay connected to your child.
Florence Millot talks to us about the dialogue “which opens”, hence her concept of the seven doors:
Door 1: Start by asking him/her what he/she thinks.
Door 2: Show that you join him/her in his/her thought and that you understand.
Door 3: Ask him/her to specify.
Door 4: Rephrase his/her remarks to show that you understand.
Door 5: Ask him/her to go further, to talk about his/her feelings. « How do you feel when you think about this? »
Door 6: The reversal: Help him/her transform his/her thoughts. Your child must learn to watch out for thoughts that hurt him/her.
Door 7: Reconnect: show him/her a gesture of affection.
Talking about these seven steps allows us to realise that the attitude that parents adopt when communicating with the child closes rather than opens doors. Indeed, Florence Millot tells us that the parent closes doors when he judges what the child says and shows that he/she is wrong to think a certain way.
It is still important to stress that these are tips to communicate better with your child, however you cannot protect your child from everything. Even though you are a very good parent and a very good communicator, please note that you cannot prevent small and big tears ; however, you can help your child by providing tools to teach him/her how to solve difficult situation by him-/herself.