Every child occasionally has off days when they don?t enjoy school or don?t particularly want to go. This could be down to a number of reasons; perhaps they have had a conflict with another pupil, are finding the schoolwork difficult or are feeling unwell. Whatever the cause, it can be easy to worry about it; we all get concerned about how our children are progressing at school from time to time.
Are they making friends? Are they keeping up academically? Are they enjoying it? It would be easier if we could be a fly on the wall and see exactly what is going on behind the classroom door and in the playground but unfortunately we only have our child’s word on what goes on so we tend to get a rather skewed version!
Consider asking your child what’s up if you notice any of the following signs;
They are unusually quiet after school
They are aggressive or moody with other siblings
They refuse to do homework
They feign illness in order to get a day off
Ask your child why they are feeling sad. Let them know that you understand something is wrong, and try to explain how important it is that they tell you what it is. Trying not to ask leading questions, ask if it is a problem with another person, a problem with school work or a problem with something else? that should get the ball rolling and open a conversation so you can come to some sort of understanding about what is bothering them.
If the problem is about schoolwork or another pupil, then consider speaking to the child’s teacher to get their viewpoint on the issue. It could be that the teacher is able to reassure your child about the topic or subject that is causing them problems by praising their work or setting in place some extra help until your child feels more comfortable with it. If the problem is with another pupil, don?t go into the classroom with conflict in mind; instead try to get advice from the teacher. That way, you are avoiding conflict (which won?t help), blame (which doesn?t lie with the teacher) and finger-pointing (which would be unfair) and instead you are simply drawing their attention to the problem so they can monitor it. Always arrange to check back after raising an issue with the teacher so you can both follow up on progress.
It is almost always best not to bypass your child’s teacher and go right to the head teacher or even worse, to the parents of another child. Your child’s teacher (and classroom assistants if they have any) are the people on the front line of your child’s education; they know your child better than anyone else at the school and can give you the best insight into their behaviour, progress and relationships with other children. As your first port of call, the child’s teacher will be able to either help immediately and directly, or monitor the situation and then speak to other teaching staff and other parents as they deem necessary. Forge a good relationship with your child’s teacher so that you feel you can talk to them about your child and their progress if and when a problem arises so that all issues can be solved as quickly as possible and your child can get on with learning and having fun.