- Kids are different at home than school: I will start with the most obvious one. The children at home don’t usually have 24 other kids their own age with them all day so naturally they are different. They are sometimes quieter and most follow all school rules whereas they may not follow rules at home.
- Schools have discipline processes that cannot be the same at home: a common question is “How do you get my child to behave?” What most parents forget is that schools have clear rules, guidelines, policies and procedures for exactly that. There is also levels of seriousness and levels of consequence. At home, you are it. You are the top level. So what works at school, may not always work at home.
- Kids like to play alone at times and that’s ok: some parents spend time and energy stressing over who their children play with. Then stress even more if they are alone. I can understand why. However, children, like adults, need space and playing alone at times is ok. They may need a break, they may not like the other kids games or they may need space from their friends. Some children just do not like to socialise yet.
- Friendship issues and power struggles are normal: oh the drama of it all! That one child that seems to disrupt the friendship balance, the nasty words and of course the ever dreaded group of 3. All children need to learn to socialise and experience a range of social situations. That is how they learn to become social adults. There will be times when friendships issues dominate the conversation. This is natural and happens differently at different ages and stages. It is time to worry when it affects their wellbeing, learning or sense of self.
- There will be times when not every learning area is at standard: this is one expectation that bothers me at times. The expectation that all kids should all be at standard in every learning area at the same time. Some kids are just not there yet. They need time and space to develop and like adults, some areas of learning are harder than others. There will be natural gifts and talents that children have. When kids focus all of their energy on improving one area, it can sometimes be to the short time detriment of others. Children will develop at their own rate and pace. It is all of our jobs to support them at the stage they are at.
- Some children’s brains are just not ready to grasp certain concepts yet: another one of those expectations that I find challenging at times. Children start school at different ages and stages. Some have been in day care for years, some have been in kindergarten for 2 and some breeze through the early years. Not all children will learn at the same rate and pace so it is useless comparing. There are hard concepts that at different year levels and children find it hard to grasp and that is ok. You may find that they dip at the start of certain years because the concepts are beyond their capacity yet.
- Children get frustrated and angry just like adults: there will be times when your child may not like a teacher’s decision. The teacher, like you, is an adult who may have different viewpoints or acted for a good reason. We as adults know this but kids do not. They can become angry and frustrated with decisions that are made. Again, that is ok because you are the adult and it is important not to join in the negativity. Likewise, when children feel upset or angry with their friends. The whole story may not have been communicated accurately and you don’t have both sides of the story. It is important to know both sides of the story before discussing things with your child.
- Kids are often more compassionate than adults: there is always children who are different or extreme. Children come from different family environments, social situations and economic backgrounds. They have a right to education and help like all children. Adults are most often the ones who want justice and consequences when things go wrong. Most children just like to hear a sorry and move on. Kids are understanding of children with needs and try to help where they can. As a whole, we need to match kids in also being compassionate and understanding.
Sometimes there is a mystery that surrounds school. Parents often ask what their children are like at school and nine times out of ten, it is different. It got me thinking of things that I wish I could tell all parents is the reality of school and what is and is not ok. So here is my top eight for parents to know:
Annette Palma and Carley Rogozik/ Dawson