Two weeks ago Facebook was alive with parents posting pictures of their little ones in their shiny new school uniforms, stood by fireplaces and front doors, grinning with the anticipation of the new school year ahead of them.
Parents across the country felt a mixture of pride, anxiety, sadness and relief that their little ones were going back to school. Personally, we had a fantastic summer but we were more than ready for getting back to school. As much as I hate the early starts, the rushing around and the homework, the girls need that routine and get their brains engaged again.
We start September full of hope for the year. The girls went off so excited to start school and see their friends again. But as the days wore on, while Bean was fine and happy at school, it became clear that her little sister, Little Miss J was less than happy. She started trying to tell me she felt sick in the mornings. She asked to stay home. She dragged her feet and cried when I was taking her into school in the mornings.
Little Miss J is 5 years old. It broke my heart to have to drag her into school in the mornings. It upset me to see her so unhappy. She begged to me able to stay with me, her "mama" and I wanted more than anything to sweep her up in my arms and take her home with me and Little Boy.
It turns out that she was scared of her new teacher. She has had the same teacher at school since she started in nursery 2 and a half years ago and this was the first change she had experienced. Of course different teachers have different styles and her new teacher is a bit 'shouty' shall we say. I know her new teacher is a great teacher because she took Bean a few years ago. I know that she will make them work hard and she won't take any messing about. She is just what they need in Year 1. I know that she is kind and loving but yes, she can also be 'shouty'. Little Miss J has always hated being told off and even though she is a really good girl and so unlikely to be told off she was petrified of being shouted at.
So how do you deal with this sort of situation? There is no real problem with her teacher, it is all in Little Miss J's mind. She was scared of change and frightened of being told off. In life we have to learn to deal with different types of people and Little Miss J will have to learn to deal with the fact that her new teacher is different to her old one.
The last few days have been a bit better. She is adjusting herself to her new teacher, and her new teacher has been great at helping her with the adjustment actually. I'm hoping that we are just having some teething problems and that struggling with school is not a long term thing for us. But I also know all too well that not everyone settles into school each year and this last two weeks have given me a real insight into how hard that must be for parents. To watch your child struggle, and hate to go somewhere that you must by law take them to. That is a real tug at the heartstrings and my heart goes out to all parents and children who have to struggle with that long term.