..tis the season to be jolly…or is it? I confess to getting a little over excited about Christmas, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has watched me wielding our school snow machine, but I also know that this can be a very challenging part of the school year and a difficult time for many people.
As a school we are nearing the end of our longest and most challenging term, where we have all navigated the transition to new year groups, classes and even starting a new school – and as fun as our school is, all that learning and action takes its toll on our energy levels. Add to the festive mix the magical array of seasonal germs, a sprinkling of cold weather and it is perhaps understandable that Jingle Bells is not always greeted with abundant festive cheer! That’s ok. Well done, everyone, for getting this far – no matter what route your journey has taken!
I may be exaggerating, as the mood in school is bubbling very nicely for our end of term celebrations, but over the course of this week I have been part of a variety of meetings, conversations and presentations which made me think about how hard things can be for us all at times. As learners, parents and teachers we are all susceptible to moments of self-doubt; we are, after all, only human. Regardless of the original purpose for each of these encounters, I have been struck by the amount of love, care, support and guidance there is in our community and the willingness to help and share. We care about each other, we want to help and whilst none of us get things right all the time, we keep the happiness of our children at the heart of everything we do and we respect that this intention drives everything we say or do, right or sometime less so.
I think it is a brilliant starting point from which we can all learn and grow and we remember we are all human and no one if perfect (see that was a real typo), so let’s be kind to ourselves as well as others. There is an enormous amount of knowledge, experience, expertise, good will, lessons learnt and support to help us all navigate the challenges of life (festive or otherwise) and so in the spirit of good will and in the season of giving, I am proud to share some messages of cheer, support and advice harvested from our wonderful community!
Read, use, try, ignore, agree, disagree, pack away for another day or even re-gift (just like that last present under the tree from Great Aunt Wendy!). Thank you to the teachers, parents, staff and pupils who shared their wisdom so I can share it with you!
- All behaviour is a language, ask what the person is trying to “say”.
- Choose your battles – you don’t have to win all the time.
- Have fun, be human, make mistakes.
- Happiness and wellbeing is more important than ANYTHING else.
- Try not to live your life through our children – they are different, wonderfully made individuals, not a mini-you.
- A ‘challenging’ child doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, or that they’re trying to annoy or embarrass you.
- Set aside time to talk to your child every evening – in addition to the bedtime story! And keep it up well into their teens, long after the bedtime story has stopped. No screens. Just talking. No excuses. It’s when all the little worries come out and can be sorted. Plus they really appreciate the one to one time.
- A 15 minute walk around the block can be quality time with your child. It’s amazing what they will share when walking and homework is often easier to tackle afterwards.
- Never underestimate the importance of play in all its forms whether Lego, den building, ‘let’s pretend’ games or bath-time fun – these activities allow children to dream, aspire and invent.
- Trusting yourself as a parent – do what is right for you and your family rather than what everyone else is doing!
- Love your children unconditionally – always find ways to show your pride of even the smallest steps in their lives.
- Give your children space to grow and be themselves, allow them to make mistakes.
- Remind yourself that even in the bleakest of times, it will be okay – your children will still love you and appreciate you – parents aren’t perfect either…
- If they are having a meltdown – it is because they feel safe enough to do this with you. Ask yourself ‘what are they communicating?’ Give them time, listen.
- Make time to have fun with your children – these are the things they will always remember!
- Sometimes, it is better to let them fight their own battles – if we solve all their problems for them, they may feel they are incapable of doing this without you.
- Remember, your record for getting through difficult days is 100%.