Is your child happy at school? Even for the best parent, it can difficult to tell solely based off of behavior. Of course, it would be great if your child could always tell you when they were happy at school. But you can’t always count on that — especially when they are younger and have less emotional fluency. Here are some actions you can take to better understand if your child is happy at school:
- Ask Questions
- Speak to your child’s Teacher
- Talk about school
Volunteer in class
Spending some time volunteering in your child’s classroom or participating in a school event is a great way to gauge their happiness at school. You will have the opportunity to see what the other children are like and how they relate. Your child will undoubtedly love your presence and your visits will give the two of you something to talk about!
Ask detailed questions
If you ask, “How was school today?” chances are your child will say shrug off your question with “OK” or “Same.” It is better to ask engaging questions that can serve as conversation starters, such as: What was the best thing that happened at school today? What is something that made you laugh today? Where do you play the most at recess? What is your favorite part of lunch? Asking these kinds of specific question can prompt your child to open up, and makes it harder for them to deflect with a vague response.
Talk to the teacher
The teacher spends five days a week with your child. If they suddenly seem unhappy at school or has issues with their friends, your teacher will likely know more about the situation than you do. If the teacher hasn’t noticed anything, feel free to share your feelings and engage in a parent-teacher dialogue. Your child’s teacher should be willing to listen to your thoughts and anything concerning your child. It’s important to remember your child needs you two to work as a team!
Talk about school
Communication is key! Try to set aside some time every day to discuss school. Your child may need some time to unwind after they get home, so straight after school is not necessarily the best time. Any form of leisure time is a great time for conversations about school, like at dinner, while they are splashing in the bath, or before the bedtime story. If your child feels relaxed, they may be more inclined to speak their mind.
Signs that your child is happy
Try not to be worried if your child doesn’t seem happy within their first couple of weeks at school. The transitional period that comes along with a new environment isn’t easy for any child, so it’s important you give them a chance to get used to their teacher, other children, and the idea of going to school. Here are some positive signs your child is happy at school.
They talk about school
This one of the more obvious signs–the more enthused they are to speak about their time spent at school, the more they most likely enjoy it, and will want to share with you their positive experiences.
Good homework habits
How your child feels about homework is an indication of how they feel about school. Not necessarily whether they find the work challenging, but if they are relatively positive about the necessity of it and are excited to learn new things (this is more prevalent in younger children). A good sign would be if they are eager to show you what they are working on or are happy to work on it with you.
Eager to return in the fall
Generally, children are excited to return to school in the fall. They might be a little nervous, but they will get used to their new teacher and classmates in no time! If their school experience has been positive overall, they will be happy to have another opportunity to see their friends and learn new things the following year.
At the end of the day, every parent hopes their child is happy at school! Becoming more involved both in and out of your child’s classroom will create and allow for a better understanding of your child’s happiness at school. In addition to communicating with their teacher, establishing a routine dialogue with your child will be the contributing factor in strengthening the bond between you and your child, and will help you gauge their overall happiness.