School’s around the country are resuming all through this month and for parents its mixed feelings. There is excitement that the children are finally going to be productively occupied, while there may also be strain as bank accounts are depleted. There may also be some anxiety over how to cope emotionally or otherwise as your child starts this new session. Here are just a few going back to school tips to help both children and parents.
Early to bed…: Most times parents allow their children some flexibility with bed time over the holidays but as school resumption draws close begin to help them adjust by ensuring they go to bed early. Remember that children need more sleep than adults and thrive on routine so it’s important you set a bed time for your children so they wake up happy and refreshed. This will ensure that getting them up in the morning is as easy as possible. Once they are used to their routine you will not even need anyone to wake them up once they are well rested .
Prepare them : If your child is just starting a new phase like Primary school or Secondary school you will need to help them prepare mentally with pep talks and books. A good way to help children look forward to primary school is by reading books like “First day at the Big School” a book I wrote to help children deal with anxiety that sometimes comes with starting a new class. Also write a note to your child and tuck in their bag to encourage them though the first day so that they have that all day reminder that you love them and are there for them all the way.
Be present in School: With our busy lives it’s easy to get caught up with work but please make out time for your child’s school. While your schedule may not permit you to attend every school event , do as much as you can when able. If you plan to be present then it ‘s more likely to happen. Thankfully a lot of schools have WhatsApp groups and the like, so even if one can not be physically present you can make your contributions virtually. Try to be part of the PTA as this ensures that you have a say in what happens in your child’s school which is very reassuring to both you and your child. Also when a school sees that a Parent cares its sends a strong positive message .
Be present at home: Unless your children are all in boarding school or you have an empty nest try to make sure you are not out every night. It’s been said over and over that children require your presence more than presents and being available physically provides an avenue for communication amongst other things. Once you are home with them after school spend time with them and help with homework or other activities.
Communicate with your child: Communication is very important as it lets you pick up on any problems your child may be experiencing (such as bullying) and nip them in the bud. Ask your child how their day at school was and be sure to listen. When your child knows you are listening then they will be more comfortable confiding in you. When they are telling you about their day at school please put your phone down and give them your full attention. Also try and offer solutions rather than patronising remarks. A good way to encourage communication is about telling them about your day (without discussing details that are not age appropriate) and talking about topical issues with them, this also has the extra advantages of making them good listeners and building their maturity . Good communication will show your child they are a priority and you care about what they have to say.
Discuss their goals: Goal setting is a very important tool and should be encouraged from an early stage. Once your children are old enough to understand what goals are then hold an informal meeting with them to discuss what their goals are for their new session and how they intend to achieve them. Ask them what they are looking forward to in the new term and what concerns they have and see how you can help. These discussions are often very useful for your child’s all round development.
Pray: At the end of the day we need to remember that our children belong to God and He is more than able to sustain, guide and protect them from harms way. As we all play our parts as parents let us not forget to commit their ways to Him and He will surely direct their path.
There is so much you can do for and with your children as they prepare for this new session, what are your tips?