Today I let my son have a day off school – I call it a ‘mental health day’. He is slightly off-colour, he has a slightly runny nose, a bit of a cough, a sore ankle and finger from rugby, but nothing serious enough to warrant a day off school. But the last 2 weeks have been very busy, including the weekends, and he is tired, the poor little boy.
It all came to a head last night – he came home from rugby practice in a fragile mood – hungry, tired, irritable and cheeky– Tuesdays are a looong day for him. It starts early – out of the house at 7am to get to school early for band practice before school starts. He gets home at about 4pm, has a short break and some afternoon tea and then has to try and do some homework (reluctantly) before heading off to rugby practice from 6 – 7:30pm. Home again by 7:50pm, dinner and shower and into bed by 9pm or thereabouts. As I said, a looong day!
Last night, he was so tired and hungry that he just could not speak to anyone in a civil tone. Every enquiry or comment was greeted with a sharp, sarcastic, annoyed rejoinder. Our natural rebuke to this behaviour led to sulky tears. He had clearly reached the end of his tether. So this morning when he was awoken to go to school and didn’t want to get out of bed I decided to let him stay at home for the day.
I think that he needs the quiet time at home to de-stress and relax. He is physically and mentally and emotionally drained and needs to re-group. I consider that reason enough to let him have the day off school. He is a good student and won’t suffer for missing out on one day.
So far, he has spent a couple of hours watching tv and is now inventing things using string and lego. Later, I will ask him to complete a homework task, but already he is in much better mood and is once again the reasonable, pleasant, good-natured boy that he usually is.
What do you think – is a ‘mental health day’ now and again a good idea?