Behavioral Changes to Expect When Your Child Starts School

You might not remember your first day of school - or maybe you remember it a little too well. It's a big transition that includes new people, places, and pressures. Children experience lots of confusing emotions because of this, and if you anticipate certain behavior changes you can help your child navigate this time successfully.

As children go to school and learn about new things they might experience fears about criticism and failure for the first time, as well as think about new concepts - like supernatural beings.

Anxiety is likely to be mixed in with the excitement your child feels about starting something new. There are many potential worries that he might need reassurance about. It's also normal for your little one to feel tired and overwhelmed by the long day he had, so try not to feel hurt if he doesn't want to talk about it right when he gets home.

Some unwanted behaviors might show up as your little one tries out new things, which could include cheating, fighting, bad habits (e.g. biting nails), lying, and swearing. No, your little angel hasn't jumped over to the dark side, she is just learning more about herself and others and might not yet understand what's expected of her. Many times these behaviors are only a phase and little Sally just needs some patience.

When it comes to behaviors like cheating and lying, you might see this as an opportunity to teach principles like integrity and what it means to be a good citizen. Your little guy might not understand why being honest is important, and helping him learn these concepts is what a parent is for! As you go about teaching why these behaviors are wrong, try to avoid conveying the idea that your child is bad. A person's behavior is separate from his character.

Aggression is something that might show up because of missing home or struggling with reading. If you haven't already started emotion coaching your child, now would be a great time to help him recognize and understand why he feels the way he does. This allows him to express his feelings instead of bottling them up and having them come out in negative ways. Don't miss your chance to lay a foundation for good mental health for your child.

But wait! There's a bright side to this time as well. In starting school your child is also developing abilities having to do with meeting new people, paying attention for a longer period of time, and taking on new responsibilities. Your little girl might be able to do more complex chores (less work for you!) and understand perspectives other than her own, making it possible to connect with her on a deeper level. Try to remember the good changes when the tough ones might be easier to see.

Transitioning to school is complex for the whole family and it might be hard to remember that negative behaviors are normal. If you try to approach the situation with love and understanding, your relationship with your child will be strengthened, and your child will feel empowered to tackle other big changes in the future.

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Wednesday, 01 December 2021

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