Yesterday I gave my son a ‘mummy school day’ – AKA it was like Iso homeschooling but without the pressure to stick to a set curriculum. He wasn’t ‘sick’ as such, but I let him stay home from school to get well.
I gave him a mental health day and here’s why.
School burnout is real. | Image source: iStock
Term Four Wobbles
My son is in first grade. The year is wrapping up and like everyone he’s over it. Tired and ‘dysregulated’ as the professionals call it (he also has high functioning autism so he easily feels overwhelmed) – but I would say he also had a case of the term four wobbles.
Like a lot of little ones, my son is a bit burnt out by the end of the year and yesterday when he was getting ready for school, I just knew in my mum-gut that he needed ‘a day’. He couldn’t focus for even a second, he was jumping around like he had ants in his pants and he was quick to anger – explosive even. He was not going to have a good day at school, and neither was his poor overworked teacher, who probably also has the term four wobbles.
So I gently told him he was going to do ‘mummy school’ today to calm down and have a break from actual school. It was not a day off, but a day to reset because I felt he needed a break. I set one rule, though: No TV.
Mental health days are good for the soul. | Image source: iStock
It Was Good!
Now, I realise I was able to do this because it was a non-work day for me (I work part-time). If I had needed to go to work, then he would have been out the door wearing his uniform and hat as per usual, at 8.30am on the dot.
But it wasn’t, so I took him and his younger brother for a scooter ride around the neighbourhood before the ‘home school’ bell rang. This got a lot of the restless energy out of his system and I already knew he was calming down.
Then ‘mum school’ started. We did creative writing and sight words and spelling while my youngest traced some letters. All before fruit break – just like school.
Next, we read – me to them and my son to us. After recess he did some Mathletics on the computer and we also did ‘LEGO maths’ on the floor – building towers, adding and subtracting and counting in fives.
In the afternoon we spray-painted some of his beloved cicada shells gold to sit on the Christmas tree for ‘craft’.
It did wonders. | Image source: iStock
It Did The Trick
A day of quiet at home doing school, but on our own terms, did the trick to overcome some of the term four wobbles. I also felt closer to my kid and more connected. I trusted my mum-gut and although I felt slightly rebellious just giving him a day off from school when he wasn’t technically ‘sick’, I knew it was the right thing for HIM.
This morning he happily got ready for school. He was calm, focused and relaxed. He was keen to go and said he felt “much better because I had a break”.
I wrote a letter to his teacher explaining I had given him a mental health day. I didn’t lie and say he was sick. Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of.
My Husband Followed Him
Upon realising how beneficial the day was for our son, my husband has taken an annual leave day today, just to sit in a coffee shop and read a book. He also has the end of year wobbles, I guess and felt he needed ‘a day’.
We all do sometimes, including our little ones (and us when we can swing it).
This article was first published in KidSpot and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
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