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Back to School!

It is that time of year again for new stationary, new shoes, bags, uniforms, new teachers, and for some, a new school.

The first day of the school year can evoke joy, panic, excitement and anxiety…. not only for the teachers and parents, but for the children as well! It can be a stressful time at the start of term, so this blog is dedicated to giving a few tips and tricks to help make that first term a smooth transition.

Warm up their mind!

If you are able (and have time) to walk to school, it is great exercise, but you can also do this in the car, try playing a few games to get their little grey cells ticking along again for the new year. For younger children, ask them to count the birds in the trees, read the signs you come across or play eye spy. Parents have even been known to sing their times tables on the way to school. Not only is this a great bonding time for you both, but practising these mental arithmetic skills with benefit them so much!

Snack time!

I was always amazed that when snack time rolled around at 10.30, just how hungry these kids were! By preparing a good snack for them to have during recess, they will get a great energy boost for learning everything that comes next. I have no doubt that the school will have rules as to what you can and cannot bring – but usually something easy and quick to eat like slices of apple, grapes or raisins can really make a difference to help them.

Schedule!

Having a schedule will help you all know exactly what is happening and what needs to be done and when. When working with families, they feedback that it relieves a lot of stress for the day ahead. It’s a very helpful for the whole family and it is amazing how much children love checking their schedule board. You can use a simple whiteboard or weekly planner to show what chores need doing, what needs to be done in the morning to get ready for school, when they get free play and when it is homework time! It helps create a balance in the household.

Tackling peer pressure!

Peer pressure will have an effect on your child’s behaviour so make a good start by equipping yourself and them with some strategies on handling this.

Firstly, being able to talk openly with your child about relationships, sex and drugs can go along way to not only deepening your relationship with each other, but it can educate and encourage them to make wise choices. If they know that you can talk about issues they will face, they are more likely to open up to you about any problems they are facing. Talk to them about how to say no in situations that make them feel very uncomfortable so they can see it is acceptable to say no.

Try to accept your child’s friends – even if you may not feel they are the best choice. Although it can be hard, it’s important to not criticise your child’s choice of friends in front of them. It isn’t likely to make them find new friends (how many of us run away from the big red button marked ‘do not touch’) and may end up turning them against you. Instead, invite them over in a supervised environment to watch a DVD, play a game or have tea – that way you can support your child as well as engage in the issues they are facing.

Encouraging a range of interests and friendship groups will help them feel less vulnerable to peer pressure from a particular group or from a particular social activity. As with all things – a bit of moderation and balance goes a long way!

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