Why Getting Kids To Open Up About Their School Worries Is So Important

By Tracy Gladman, Worrinots



This time last year I wrote an article about the start of the new school term and how quick it had come round. Well here we are again, its’s already nearly here again. How many of you are starting a new job in September? How many of you are worried or nervous about it? Have you discussed it with anyone, or have you kept it to yourself for fear that others will think you are being silly? 

Last year’s article was about my son and his transition to junior school, his way of coping and me being in tears when I got home, oh and after writing the article and reliving it again still being in tears. It’s always with hindsight that we think we should have done things differently, and beating yourself up about being in a teaching position and I should have known better. 

I wonder how many people started having conversations with their children about starting new phases of their education early, or was it best to leave it until after you had your holiday, or just leave it until after our day out. Don’t want to spoil it. Maybe it was best left until you was preparing for return, buying school uniform will reassure them, won’t it? Surely that will trigger them to talk about any worries they may have and they will let you know then. 

For me hindsight really was a wonderful thing. I thought my son was ok and not worried about going to junior school as he hadn’t mentioned anything to me. Looking back I put so much focus on my career and enjoying the holidays with my children, but maybe I should have focused more on making sure they were OK with the changes they would be going through. 

It’s always easy to put the enjoyable things before the important things, we want children to enjoy the activities they will experience through the holidays, after all, those memories will hopefully last a lifetime. They won’t be young for long, you want them to experience as many activities and places as possible. That time you get with them is precious, they grow up too quick and all of a sudden being with mum is not cool. However, we don’t want upsetting experiences to last a life time either, finding the balance is difficult as a parent, especially as time is also so precious now.

During late October this year my first grandchild will arrive, it seems a lifetime ago now I was taking my children on their summer holiday trips out, making their memories for them. This event has crept up on me, without any warning. Just like the day my son started his new school.

I will use my past experience to ensure I make time to speak with my son about anything that might worry him. Even if he doesn’t open up to me I will word my questions differently to ensure I am able to get him to open up.

They say being a grandparent puts you in a privileged position, I suppose it does. Being able to spend time with my grandchild and talk about things without the pressure of being time poor. I also won’t have the worry about making their memories through their summer holidays. That will be my son’s job now. I just need to make sure I am able to have conversations upfront and be there to listen and reassure both my son and grandchild. It’s important to know that, it doesn’t matter who children open up and talk to, it just matters that they are not keeping worries inside. 

When we forget to speak to children, and they don’t open up, some of the issues that worry them and become deep rooted. I spoke with my son about last year’s article after it was published, he said he didn’t really remember his first day at junior school. Maybe he is fortunate and wasn’t really affected by the experience, or maybe after all these years he still doesn’t want to admit he was upset. 

Well this year, sitting here writing this article, I am not welling up about my son, although it always brings a lump to my throat, thinking about his little face and being brave in front of his friends. I hope you have a great summer, make some wonderful memories for your children and keep having those conversations. Just because they are not saying anything, doesn’t mean they are not worried about anything.