What did you say to your child before the start of the school day earlier today?
Was it any of the following?
Be a good girl/boy!
Do your best!
Why are you always forgetting something?
Hurry up! You are going to be late!
Perhaps these were some of the words you used this morning. How can we help our child get off to a good start to school? What are some other things you can say to your child at the start of the school day?
Starting the School Day Well
Sometimes getting up in the morning especially after a late night (of work, or Netflix or aimless Social Media browsing or online shopping) can be extra challenging as parents. Our emotions build up as the clock ticks away furiously, uncooperative children move in sloth mode and we often start the day on a wrong note.
Do remember heading to school can be daunting for many children. With Safe Management Measures in place, children are also disallowed from playing or interacting freely. This can impact the kind of interactions they have in school, thus making school dreary.
Parents can set the tone to their child’s day, and what we say to our child can impact their attitudes towards school.
Alternative Words to Use for a Good Start to School
“Be Kind” and “Be Curious”, instead of “Be good” or “Have fun”
We all have good intentions for our child. Sometimes that may not be expressed in the best way. When we ask our children to “be good”, it is perhaps redundant as most children would present the better side of themselves especially in school. If a child misbehaves, there is probably a trigger and a root cause for it. Rather than assume the child will heed the call of “be good”, suggest ways to encourage the child to “be good”.
School is not always fun, especially when you reach the upper primary levels. There is clearly a larger focus on academics. In reality, hard work is not always “fun”. That is also not the most important aspect of school, since the primary purpose is to learn.
Saying “be kind” reminds the child to show kindness, help a peer or a teacher and look for opportunities to do a good deed.
Saying “be curious” can also motivate the child to have a positive learning attitude. Whether it’s asking questions, or trying hard to solve a problem, these can be a reminder for the child to always be curiously learning.
“Let’s see if you have everything?” instead of “Why are you always forgetting something?”
Children being children, do lack perspective and can easily forget to bring or do something for school. In addition, there is a ton of items to prepare these days – Trace Together token, thermometer, extra masks, antibacterial wipes. Instead of pinning the blame on the child, we can say “Let’s see if you have everything”, write a list of items and check against it every evening before bedtime when packing the school bag.
Before leaving the home, both parent and child can also go through the checklist again to ensure nothing is forgotten. This helps the child to learn the importance of being organised and packing skills.
“Let’s go Cheetah speed” instead of “Hurry up! You are going to be late!”
Time is of essence in the morning. Especially when the school bus is about to arrive, or you are racing against time to get everyone up and ready. Knowing this and already knowing the speeds of different members of the family, “hurry up” seems to be an unnecessary phrase to use. Everyone know they need to hurry and perhaps this is also largely ignored when there is an overwhelming amount of things to do.
Inject some fun into the morning routine. Pretend to be a Captain of the sinking ship or the Sergeant of a platoon as you encourage your child in the different accents. You can also include analogies which are easier to relate to like “let’s move like we have ants in our pants” or “ let’s move like a Cheetah” to lighten the mood. Setting the tone of the day right helps the child to put on a smile for the rest of the day and look forward to going to school.
Other Phrases to Use at the Start of a School Day
Here are other phrases that can help send your child off to a great school day.
“Make good friends.”
Many of our friends are from school, and it is likely that they will form some friendships for life.
“I hope you make your teacher smile.”
Don’t forget the teachers who may be having tough days in school. Encourage your child to be a blessing to the teachers as well.
“Hope you have a good day!”
Not all days are going to be good, but the well wishes from parents can send the message of positivity. Even on tough stressful days, your child can face the challenges with renewed optimism.
“I love you” with a Big Hug Never fails
Love never fails, so don’t forget the most important words for the start of the day and accompany them with a big hug (and kiss if permissible). We hope you will help to start your day and your child’s day in a positive way, set the tone right and send the right messages with an emphasis on the right values.