Back to school soon- are you ready?
Often moms are more nervous than their kids when it comes to their children starting school. They worry if they will settle in and make friends or if the bus journey will be ok.
Will they eat lunch? Will they ask to go to the toilet? Moms have a lot on their mind, many are juggling going back to work or starting a new job and they have to sort out child care. There are after school activities to sign up for and all the paraphernalia that goes with that.
I found working out of the house very hard with four children. I had a part time job and was lucky to have my husband at home when I was at work. I muddled through but I wish I thought more about how to make my life easier when I was juggling everything. Brainstorming with the family can be helpful. Make a plan. Who can be responsible for different tasks? Can some one feed the dog, take out the trash or fold clothes? Increased responsibility helps children feel they are contributing to the household and increases their self esteem.
And of course, there is Covid. Hopefully, most of the kids will be back in school in person but there is a nagging fear that things may change which can affect everything. Children worry as well so ask how your child feels about returning to school. Don't ask if she is worried about going back, ask open ended questions. Pick out the supplies she needs together, let her choose her favorite color of folder. Some children may be excited to see friends again but others may not feel happy returning to the classroom and may have a lot of anxiety about this. Brainstorming solutions with them, having playdates with classmates , visiting the teacher/ classroom before they start may help them. For more information, I have written another blog on helping children with anxiety.
Before school starts start networking and find out the bus routes, what time they arrive and who will be on the bus. This is a great opportunity to meet neighbors who can be a valuable resource. Knowledge is key and makes you feel in control. Try and read the school's website and make sure you receive papers from the school or emails from the teachers.
The best way to cope is to be organized
I found a written schedule was helpful and kept me on track. Make sure everyone can see it and has access to it. I have a friend who has a large blackboard in her kitchen and each week she writes the schedules and activities and who was picking up the kids. Color codes for each child can be useful. Another friend had different files for each child. Depending on their age, your kids can be responsible to put the paperwork from school into their file. And they should know where to find their backpacks and shoes. It may seem common sense but have them accessible so your child can reach their backpack/ coat and shoes.
With younger children practice laying out their clothes the night before. Plan lunches ahead of time and ask your child want they want to eat. Involve them in making their lunch with you and this is a great opportunity to discuss healthy eating. Older children can be responsible for organizing their sports gear, instruments and homework for school.
Before school starts- begin to limit screen time, phones should be turned off at a certain time to enable better sleep patterns. Start waking up slightly earlier.
With a little planning- the start to the school year should be a happy and successful one.