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Confident
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The Worst (School) Day Ever

What kids say about school, what they really mean, and how you can help

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
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Curious
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Creative
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Caring
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Confident
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Sometimes you may have to look beyond their words to get the full picture.
The school year got off to an awesome start: Interesting subjects, good friends, great teachers.

So, what happened? Everything was going well…until it wasn’t.

The most likely explanation: Your kid met a challenge she didn’t anticipate or know how to handle. And now she isn’t sure how to ask for help. Instead, she complains, fakes illness, forgets her lunch or homework, stalls, makes excuses, and more.

But an off-mood or negative sentiment doesn’t have to linger. Check out some possible triggers below to help identify what your school-age child is feeling. Then use the tips that follow to help your kid identify the source of her distress and a way to change the outcome.

What he says:
I have no friends.

What he means:
He had no one to sit with at lunch.

What happened:
He got there too late to get a seat at the table.

What he’s feeling:
Left out

Solution:
If you know your child has a core group of pals at school, lunch alone was probably a one-time event. So, encourage him to ask a friend to save him a seat at the lunch table tomorrow or plan to meet up with friends before the lunch period starts. If your child feels left out again the next day, suggest making a few new friends, or joining a team or a club after school to connect with new pals with similar interests.

 

What she says:
Math is b-o-r-i-n-g.

What she means:
It’s hard.

What happened:
She didn’t understand the directions.

What she’s feeling:
Not as smart as the other kids

Solution:
While you could reach out to the teacher, it’s best to teach your child to advocate for herself. Urge her to raise her hand and ask questions in class when she feels lost, or to seek help from the teacher or a peer tutor before or after school. If your child needs additional support, consider seeking a professional tutor to reinforce the lesson.

 

What he says:
My teacher doesn’t like me.

What he means:
He messed up.

What happened:
He was disruptive in class and no longer sits near his friends.

What he’s feeling:
Embarrassed

Solution:
Role-play with your child. Let him see how it feels when someone interrupts a discussion while he’s trying to get a point across. Play the part of the class clown to his serious teacher—but do it with insight and humor. Help him understand it is not necessary to create turmoil to get the teacher’s attention.

 

What she says:
I don’t want to go to school tomorrow.

What she means:
She didn’t finish her homework.

What happened:
Instagram, Minecraft, YouTube, and so forth

What she’s feeling:
Guilty

Solution:
Allow her to finish up as much as she can before lights out. But remind her it was her choice to spend time online, or horsing around with a sibling, and because of that she may have to go to school with incomplete homework. Going forward, discuss what she needs to do to stay on top of her responsibilities. Establish rules, including this one: homework first, then screen time.

 

What he says:
I don’t think I have homework tonight.

What he means:
He forgot his books.

What happened:
He got involved with friends after school and never went back to his locker.

What he’s feeling:
Forgetful

Solution:
Have your child call or text a friend to get the assignment details (or check online if your school has a website) or borrow the books he needs to study. Then help him develop more school-savvy habits. Brainstorm ideas that will help him remember books and class assignments at the end of the day. Planners and homework folders work for some, or have him schedule a daily reminder on his smart phone, if he has one. Put your child in charge. He may be more willing to work on organizational skills if he’s the one who comes up with them.

 

What she says:
I need help with my homework.

What she means:
Can you do it for me?

What happened:
Nothing. She just wants you to do it.

What she’s feeling:
Lazy. Or stuck on a problem.

Solution:
Support your child but don’t take over. A recent study found that homework help from Mom or Dad can result in lower test scores. That’s because parents may not know—or correctly recall—the information. Sometimes, just sitting with your child and asking her to describe the problem will help her clarify it and allow her to solve it on her own.

Which of the following phrases best describes your elementary-school student?

Parents Talk Back
Which of the following phrases best describes your elementary-school student?
My kid is an introvert.
10% (5 votes)
My kid is an extrovert.
38% (20 votes)
My kid is mostly an introvert but sometimes behaves like an extrovert.
25% (13 votes)
My kid is an extrovert but acts like an introvert from time to time.
27% (14 votes)
Total votes: 52