Friday, August 26, 2016

What To Do When Your Child HATES Kindergarten

The Headlines:

I never thought this would happen.

My child doesn't like school.

Here's what I did. 

Three weeks ago my little boy started Kindergarten.  It was so exciting.  For everyone.  A new school for the whole family.  Both children were wearing uniforms for the first time.  I wrote about the day HERE .  What I didn't anticipate, however, was this follow up post.  In particular, I never dreamed my strong willed, extremely communicative, super friendly little boy would have any problems going to school.

Boy was I wrong.

It started innocently enough: the first day of school he wanted nothing to do with his uniform, the second day he mentioned in passing he wanted to go back to his old school (y' know, the cushy, sweet, sing-songy school where I could pick him up directly from his classroom 3 days a week).  The third day he mentioned he was super tired but by the fourth he was in full on break down mode.  Let me stress it again FULL BREAK DOWN MODE.

He was saying 50 times a day that HE HATED SCHOOL.  There was a lot of crying.  Lots of yelling, "I just want to stay home with you!" Whining.  Agonizing.  Then one day, I almost couldn't get him out of the car at drop off.  It was brutal.  This went on for a while... and all the while I was kind of in disbelief.  When I was a child, I loved school.  I couldn't get enough of it.  My daughter was the same way.  When she went to Kinder half day, she would ask me what the kids in full day were doing every 10 minutes after we got home.

This was the opposite - it was stunning and somewhat paralyzing.

I scrambled to get play dates lined up.  I added special treats to his lunch.  There was lots of hugging. I even said we could switch to half day if that's what he really wanted.  He went to bed early.  But none of that seemed to work.  All the while, my husband was out of the country - this was a mine to figure out.

So here's what did.  I lied.

I wrote his teacher informing her of the problem and she wrote back something along the lines of: "don't worry... this is natural!"  But it wasn't natural - not from where I come from.  She also said: "he does ask me several times a day if it's time to go home."  Not surprising.  But in that same email she offered some encouraging words:  she said, "Hudson did very well in class today.  He offers answers to questions and was engaged in all of our subjects."  So I decided that was something my son needed to hear.  I read him the email.  And then I embellished it a bit.  I added "please tell Hudson he's very important to the class, we need him here, it wouldn't be the same without him."  He listened and we went to bed.  It wasn't all that earth shattering at the time.

The next morning he woke up,  he was unhappy to be awake but the morning was rather un-eventful.  He only said he didn't want to go to school like 5 times.  Which for us, at this point, was big.   It didn't become apparent that my lie worked until we were driving in the car that morning.  I mentioned school and my son replied, "well the teacher needs me so I gotta go."

And that was that.

No more tears.  No more arguments.  A little bit of whining.  But he's going and he's not complaining about it.  In fact, I think he may even cop to liking it a bit.  Well, almost.  We're getting close to that at least.  He certainly enjoys the facts he's learning.  "Mom, did you know ground hogs hold their breath for 6 minutes when they're hibernating?" Ah... no!

No question Kindergarten is an adjustment for kids.  And parents.  Kids may love it, they could hate it but it's your job to get them there.  By whatever means possible.  My son still doesn't like the uniforms, waking up early or having such a long day.  But he's going.  And, bonus, he feels needed (and wanted) there.  Usually, I'm not a fan of lying.  But in this case... it was just the teacher ordered!

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