my little animals...oh, I mean my kids!

I am just wondering if this phenomenon played itself out in your house a much as it did in ours during this back-to-school time.... Our six year old son started first grade this year at our local public school, I love the school, so don't get me wrong here, but my son came home the first two weeks of school like a wild animal! I was kind of floored by it and wasn't prepared for this totally bonkers kid in our home, and of course our three year daughter just fell in line and bounced around like a nut as well! I found myself thinking, 'who ARE these kids?!' and I wanted to write about it, firstly to share the craziness and secondly to warn those parents out there who have not yet entered first grade.

As I was talking to friends and neighbors about it, and it came to me while talking about it that hhmmm, this happened last year too! when kindergarten started only to a lesser degree... he came home and kind of lost his rhythm and became more akin to an animal and not a kid. One night my husband and I started talking about it and I was telling him that I was thinking of locking him in a cage (not literally, just to prove my point that it was getting crazy!) and as we talked about it we realized that these kids, especially in first grade are just starting to sit down and learn instead of playing all day and it's a BIG step for them and so when they come home after being in their straight jackets all day long they are just beyond themselves about what to do and even if you are there to point them into a certain direction, they just can't even focus on that and...well they become a bit wild.

So here is what we decided to do, when he came home from school we went straight outside; down to the beach, flying a kite, riding bikes, anything as long as it's outside. And that was all that it took, by the time he came inside the wildness was out of him, we had played together for a bit and he was more ready to be our wonderful son again (I say this also because I don't want you to think our kids are animals, they are sweet, considerate, polite and thoughtful... most of the time!)

I am sure that there are books about this, I just haven't read them! but I didn't want anyone else to be alone in this and thinking that your kids are bonkers! hang in there and they will figure it out... eventually! I talked to my son about it the other day and I asked him "what was going on in there?" and you know what he told me... "life is hard mom" I don't know where he got that but I was happy that I thought to say "that's why we all need to be nice to each other... because life is hard, so let's listen to each other and be nice to each other and it will be better".

please share your comments.. if you have had this happen in your home and how you felt and any ideas on what to do!?


SL Kim said...

my daughter started kindergarten this year, and while perhaps not to the degree of your son, she too comes home and "lets loose." i thought it had something to do with the pressure kids must feel of having to grow up. and feeling tired. my daughter, Skye, is usually bouncing off the wall until bed time and i think she's not tired at all, but as soon as she hits the pillow, she's asleep. we do the extra time outside too, but sometimes, all Skye seems to want is my undivided attention. so i try to put aside dinner preparation and give her time, whether it's reading a book together or playing a game.

karen said...

thank you so much for your introspective look at our children. we could easily dismiss our kids being kids. but i also noticed this aggressive behaviour after i picked my daughter up from daycare some days. and she is also a sweet and thoughtful child. since she has only entered kindergarten this year, she still has lots of outdoor, unstructured play. i try to ensure the opposite, quiet time. she also goes back to "normal" after some one on one time!

Lesley said...

I also noticed behavior changes when my kids started preschool a few mornings a week. My youngest (2) became more aggressive than normal. We started spending lots of time outside to burn off energy and I made sure I spent extra focused time playing with them. My older daughter (4) only had a few weeks off school but still went through an extra emotional time. They are adjusting to a new group of kids and teachers which threw them off course a bit. Thank you for your insight on this, it is nice to hear other similar experiences.

Amy Bradstreet said...

We unschool, so our kids are at home (ou out) but we notice this about all of us, kids and adults, if we have been cooped up for a bit too long. We basically adhere to the "no child left inside" philosophy which really allows us all to burn off that excess energy and find our centers again. I think your response to the behavior by getting your son reconnected with nature was intuitive. It sounds like you are providing him with just the balance he needs.

Anjanette said...

oh wow this is happening to my son as well. He started his first and only year of preschool at the age of 4 and he is a wild child to begin with but holy frijoles when he gets back from school.....my head turns like Linda Blair. I of course worried that kids in school were teaching him horrid things but I just have to be patient and hope that the things we try to teach him will stick somewhere in his brain and maybe someday he'll chill out a bit and return to the human realm. I still love the sweaty little guy anyway!

I like your idea of going out out out and running around. Wish we had a beach to let the kids loose on. Maybe a good solid daily/evening hike is on tap. Your kids sound wonderful.

vickie said...

Hey i love your blog! 1st time here, and lots of grrrreat ideas! on the subject of wild....we jsut changed schools (kindergarten) and at this new place there is much less time to play out on the play equipment so we are shifting gears big time and agree with you fully on getting them OUTSIDE...it's so healing for them, as i know it is for me...always feel better. after reading last child in the woods i was really enlightened even though we are a big outdoors family. i wish school could be half outdoor classrooms half indoors...maybe i'll open one someday!

i just think kids need to play more in school...i wish they could simply face the truth that kids would learn better if allowed to be more physical and be in the world of nature more.

guess it's up to us to balance that out.

can't wait to check out more here, thanks!