how to respond when your child doesnt like school

Most children will go through a stage where they dislike one subject or sometimes the school. It could be that they don't have a strong connection with their teacher or that they're struggling with a certain concept and their confidence has taken a hit. Or, they genuinely don't like a particular lesson plan. Learning how to get kids to like school can be hard, but not impossible.

Regardless of their reasons, here's how to get your kid to like school and overcome anxieties about learning:

1. Don't panic!

If your child says they hate math, it can be easy to panic and picture a long road ahead of homework battles and failed algebra tests.

Try not to overreact. It may simply be that your child had a bad day in math class, or that they don't like the particular part of math they're studying at the moment.

The good news is that you can acknowledge their feelings without dwelling on them. Saying a phrase like, "Wow, it sounds like you really don't want to work on math today" invites them to share more if they'd like, without turning what may just be a passing feeling into a big issue.

If you jump in too quickly with comments like "math is wonderful!" your child might sense your discomfort with their feelings and become defensive, digging in their heels and insisting that they do indeed hate math. Try to stay calm and gauge your child's feelings toward math for a few weeks before becoming too concerned.

2. Play a game together

Rather than telling your child a subject can be fun, show them.

If it's math, playing a board game that includes numbers helps your child see that math can indeed be fun, and it also helps reinforce their skills.

There are so many fun games designed to help children practice their number skills, no matter what their level.

3. Invite them to do activities with you

If you like to cook, let your child choose a recipe and practice doubling the recipe to make extra. If your child is older, involve them in the weekly grocery budget, letting them practice their planning, time management and communication skills to plan the family's meals.

If you like to garden, invite your child to help you plan a garden plot, measuring the distance between each plant and determining how many of each type of plant to buy.

If your child likes to build, choose something like a wooden shelf or a backyard playhouse and design and build it together. Your child will practice a variety of skills in measuring and cutting the wood.

No matter what your child's interests are, show them how the subjects they are learning at school are used in real life.

4. Read books about different subjects

Reading books about numbers is another great way to make learning fun, particularly if your child loves to read, or be read to.

Try getting a selection of number books from the library and reading them with your child. The odds are, at least one will spark their interest.

While this may not immediately shift their negative feelings about the subject they dislike, each positive experience your child has with math makes an impact.

5. Try peer mentoring

Children often learn best from other children. This is one of the main reasons Montessori classrooms include multiple ages and levels, to facilitate peer learning. But there are ways to take advantage of this even if your child is not in a Montessori school. If they have an older sibling, encourage your older child to help the younger with their homework. Your older child will get a confidence boost from being the teacher, and may be able to explain things in a relatable way to your child who is struggling.

You can also recruit one of your child's friends and host a homework date. Your child may feel differently about learning if they get to work on it with a buddy.

To take it a step further and talk to your child's teacher to find out who in your child's class might be a good peer mentor.

6. Use positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can be a tricky balance. You don't want to negate your child's feelings by telling them they don't hate a subject or that they're great at it, but you also don't want a hatred for that subject to become a lasting part of how they see themselves.

Help your child notice when they make progress with learning to give their confidence a boost. Encouraging your child to notice their own progress and hard work can help them develop a growth mindset, where they believe that they will improve with effort. Say something like, "You didn't know how to do that last month, you've really been practicing."

If your child says they hate a certain subject, there are two main obstacles to overcome. The first, and arguably most important, is to prevent their aversion from becoming part of their identity. The second is to help them develop their skills to gain confidence. Just remember—the more your child senses your calm confidence in their abilities, the more they will believe in themselves.

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My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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