Ease into the new school year
9 January 2018 FAMILY
By: Natasha Archary
Wasn’t it just yesterday we were preparing for the year end holidays, time with loved ones and a break from corporate life? However short lived those precious weeks were, we are now smack bang into the second week of 2018 and gearing up for a highlight of a different note. The start of the new school year.
Cue anxiety, tears, sad little faces and panic attacks. The rush of reality is about to consume you until the first term break. Nothing sparks fear more than thoughts of the back-to-school run but it doesn’t need to be all chaos and fear. As long as you follow these key tips you may just pull it off without a tear shed.
Mentally prepare for the transition a week before the term is to start. This will allow you to embrace the new schedules, night-time routines, hectic early mornings and pending meltdowns in traffic. Have a checklist of items you need to get for each child, from snacks to stationery and make time to get these in advance. Check off each item as you go and do a final check the night before. Doing so will ensure a smooth start to the first day and limit the frantic back and forths trying to track down things.
- TALK ABOUT IT
Little ones have meltdowns over the silliest things; the wrong colour sippy cup, changing the channel while Peppa Pig is on and not cutting the crust off their cheese sandwhiches. It is for this reason you should do your best to ease them into the new change. This will prevent sending them into a frenzy of crying uncontrollably at the thought of going back to school. We know how dreadful being dragged to school can be but we are also able to understand why education is important. They may not just yet. It’s perfectly normal to have children who are terrified of school and you should do you best to ease their concerns. Talk about the return to school with your child and allow them to express their fears without ridicule.
Spend some time cleaning up cupboards and the home in general a few days before school starts. You want to avoid early morning screaming matches when vests don’t fit and they can’t find socks that match. Organize all gear and uniforms and have arrange them on easy to access shelves to enable your children to get them without help. Show your child where everything is and ask if they need help getting ready every morning. Chances are older kids will do just fine but the younger ones may need you to supervise and help.
Don’t skip breakfast. Ever. No matter how hectic the mornings get and how late you are running. Your child needs to eat something substantial before heading out for a full day. Have your breakfasts prepared the night before or in the freezer for reheating quickly before you head out the door. If you don’t mind eating in your car, pack travel-friendly meals for everyone to enjoy on the ride. Great examples of these include yoghurt and muesli in jars or containers, french toast, easy to assemble sandwhiches, pancakes, waffles or fruit. You could also pack a flask with your favourite hot beverage to enjoy en-route.
- PACK ENTERTAINMENT
There’s nothing worse than a child screaming in the backseat while you try to concentrate on the road. You’re never prepared for it but it’s bound to happen. Ensure you pack their favourite game, book or electronic device to get you through traffic and everyone at their respective destinations safely.
The first day back is always the hardest to get through, it’s all downhill from there. It’s an emotional day, new grades, classmates, teachers, maybe even a new school and that can be a lot for anyone, let alone a child. If you have a rough start on the first day, don’t use it as a gauge for how the rest of the year will go. Each day is different yes but your approach should be solid and set in stone to set the tone for the year ahead.