I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, why don’t you want your child to come home with a happy behavioral report?” Your next question… “What the heck is a happy report?”
My daughter is in transitional kindergarten. She has around 25 other 5 year olds in her classroom. That is a loooooot of tiny humans to keep in line. A very common classroom-wide behavioral system that many teachers implement is the “Stop light” visual. All the students start on the green light at the beginning of the day. These students are meant to understand a list of criteria or rules to comply with. If they do not meet these “rules”, they go up to the yellow light. If things continue to go south, they then land on the red light. Each student has the opportunity to earn one happy report each day.
In my daughters class, if they are in yellow, they no longer receive a “happy report” that day. To earn a happy report, you must listen to the teacher, follow directions, be a good friend, etc. After earning 30 happy reports, the learner then gets to turn the batch of reports in for a prize. This is a standard token economy!
I will admit, 99% of the time my daughter comes home with a happy report. She is an amazing kid! However, I am going to go in to why I was happy that she DID NOT come home with a happy report one day.
Side note– If this became a chronic issue, well, this would be an entirely different blog post. Honestly, this entire blog would probably entail different content :). But because this was an isolated occurrence, it opened up great dialogue for us.
It is okay to not ALWAYS be perfect!
As soon as my daughter approached me, the first thing she told me was that she did not earn her ‘Happy Report’ that day. My first reaction was, “Oh really?” (Well that is new!). My next question… “Why?”
She quickly told me the reason. I quipped back with, “Well that is okay, we all have off days! You can try harder tomorrow!”
It is important to stress that we can not always be perfect. We all have off days! If I would have immediately told her she was in trouble or that she would have had a consequence from me… How fair would that be? Plus, her teacher already addressed it with her. It was handled!
I also do not want her to feel like she has to be perfect. Every. Single. Day! How stressful would that be? I also think it is important that your children see you as a parent fail every now and then. Haha… #momfail moments for the win!
Showing how you come back from failure or tribulations is JUST as important for your children to see. That is real life! Those life skills are not necessarily taught in school but will be a NECESSITY in your child’s future. So anytime you feel like you “don’t have it together”… Girl, you’re climbing mountains and showing your child just how strong you are. No better teacher on how to show strength then you, mama! Keep it up :).
Revisit the “Rules of the classroom”
This is probably one of my FAVORITE reasons why she did not come home with a ‘Happy Report’… It opened up dialogue for us to revisit the rules of the classroom.
Honestly, when my daughter comes home with her ‘happy report’ each day, it almost becomes the norm… The expectation. The criterion for how she earns that report becomes desensitized.
When she DIDN’T come home with the report, we were able to talk about how she could do better the next day! We talked about appropriate listening skills, how I love that she is a great friend, following directions, etc. It was an amazing discussion!
When I dropped her off at school the next day, we were both excited for her to have a better day! It was the ‘renewal’ that she needed!
She was comfortable to come to me
I was also grateful that she felt comfortable telling me that she didn’t earn her ‘happy report’. It was literally the first thing she told me after school. But she also knew that she was entering a safe and nurturing environment.
Instead of getting in trouble, I chose to approach it as a teachable moment. How can she learn from this? How can she grow? Our place as parents is to raise good humans. Why would we want to break them down? Yelling at her wouldn’t do ANYTHING in this situation. This was an amazing opportunity for development… So I ran with it :).