“I occasionally keep my child home from school because it’s getting too much for her. She’s 6 and the school knows about it, but since this new school year has started and she’s gone to grade 3, they’ve been pushing for me to stop doing this. My daughter is easily overstimulated and I notice that this goes in peaks and troughs. Sometimes she comes home like a charm, but sometimes there is no land to sail with her and even a glass of lemonade is too much. Once at home she has to cry a lot, but she cannot immediately name what she is sad about. If I keep her at home for a day, I notice that she becomes calmer and can handle it again.”

“The school now tolerates this, but I have to say that I sometimes call her off ‘just’ for a day so as not to get a hassle. The school wants her to go to school 5 days a week like any other child, but I’m really afraid that’s not good for her. The school, on the other hand, states that it is unhealthy to keep her at home. As a result, she would be socially disadvantaged and would not be able to learn enough. I understand that argument, but I don’t know anymore what I’m doing right.”

overprotect

Orthopedagogue and children’s coach Charlotte Borggreve: “It is difficult for parents and child if a child is easily overstimulated, but it is important to teach your child to deal with it. In the future, he/she will have to deal with much more incentives: for example, in crowded buses and trains and at parties. If you only overprotect your child in his/her early years and do not learn to deal with those stimuli, he/she will not benefit from it.”

Yet Borggreve understands that Mouna has regularly kept her daughter at home until now. However, according to her, it is not a sustainable situation for the future. Therefore, talk to the school about possible additional measures. For example, you may have noise-cancelling headphones that she can use, or perhaps the teacher can point out a corner where your child can retreat while working.”

Find middle way

“You can also talk about staying at home. You may find a middle ground: for example, take her home on two regular afternoons until the Christmas holidays and reduce that. You can agree with the school that you will do this during a lesson for which the teacher can easily give homework.” According to Borggreve, the argument that the school puts forward about a learning delay is justified: “Certainly with large classes of 25 to 30 children, it is impracticable for teachers to take children aside at a later time and give additional explanations.”

Making Resilient

You can also do enough yourself to make your child more resilient. “By letting your child solve his/her own struggles, you increase self-confidence. For example, you can introduce him/her to children’s yoga or mindfulness to learn to relax, even in stressful situations at school. It is also a good idea to take some time for your child when he / she comes home from school. Let him/her sit on the couch for half an hour, for example give a small relaxing massage and have a quiet conversation. “I see you’re crying, does that mean you’ve been busy?” A child can describe his or her feelings very well.”

Responsibility

It is therefore important to give your child sufficient responsibility, says Borggreve. “By overprotecting or removing all worries, you are actually sending the message: ‘You can’t do it yourself’. You are not helping your child with that. If you offer your child the right tools, teach him/her to set boundaries and engage in good conversations, self-confidence will grow.”

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