BEAT (YOUR!) BACK TO SCHOOL BLUES

A lot of our sisters out there will be preparing for their kids to return to school. Many of us think we’ll be sighing heavily with relief but the reality is, the house can seem so quiet without the kids around. All that background noise – who would’ve thought it would be missed!

For those of us whose kids are starting school for the first time, it can be a particularly daunting period in our lives as a mum. It’s hard to leave our little bundles in the busy-ness of the school classroom. It feels heart-breaking not being there for them if they need us, or being that familiar, reassuring face if they need to glance in our direction for a thumbs up. And the worst bit is: how have they grown up so fast! Where did our babies go?

So here are some top tips for the big day!

  1. Prepare ahead for the first morning

First mornings are chaotic unless you really plan ahead. The fact that you might feel especially stressed out or apprehensive on their very first day won’t be helped by logistical problems!

Creating a checklist of what needs to be prepared ahead of time can help to bring focus to the nervous mind the night before. Activities to include are:

  • uniform: washed, ironed, and ready to wear.
  • shoes: correctly sized and polished, laces correctly in place, ready to wear.
  • school bag: all items already packed and sat together with uniform and shoes.
  • lunch: preferably prepared the evening before. By doing so, you’ll have the time to consider adding personal touches, such as a little note and some special treats to help your little one know that you’re thinking about them throughout the day. Food that can be shared with kids (some healthy treats – dried fruits or non-sugary sweets) will provide opportunities for sharing and making friends from day one. Making sure that everything is easy to eat is also a great idea – for example, cut-up apple takes less time to eat than a whole apple, meaning your child can have more time to play.
  • car keys, wallet and phone: place these in a specific spot so there’s no frantic searching in the morning. If you’re heading off to work after drop off, take the pressure off yourself by making sure your own work clothes are planned and your own bag is ready to be picked up.
  • additional preparation: kids going to school for the first time might prompt a bit of ceremony in the morning. Taking that photo of them standing in their new, crisp, clean uniform (it won’t stay that way for very long!), hopefully beaming at the camera excitedly, is a great keepsake. Make sure you have the camera ready and think about where you want the photo taken – and even if a neighbour might be willing and available to take a photo of everyone in the household together. Think about whether you would like your child to hold a sign with the date, grade and school name. Doing this every year can be a fun way to document their growing up – especially their facial expressions, which are likely to change from excitement, to boredom, to adolescent eye-rolling as the years go by!
    – breakfast: will it be a special breakfast in the morning? Have you got everything you need?
  1. The big first day (yours, not theirs!)

So they’re off at school. For those of you whose children are first-timers, the first day can be incredibly tough. Help yourself by thinking ahead. Make sure you have some distractions for the day if you’re not working: a morning coffee with a friend, a spa treatment, or even some household tasks that will require your attention.

  1. Embrace the quiet

This sounds tough, but the quiet can be used to your advantage! It might seem unfamiliar at first, but it becomes surprisingly easy once you’re immersed in an activity.

They’ll soon be home with you again, so use this time to do those activities that are so hard with kids about: sorting out letters and paperwork, dealing with outstanding issues and filing everything away definitely needs a bit of peace and quiet.

  1. Arriving home

After their first day, kids can be very tired, so it might be a good idea to take this into account. Making sure you’re at the school gates well ahead of pick-up time so that any potential delays are completely avoided will go a long way to reassuring first-timers. And, of course, big cuddles and lots of positive feedback are essential!

This might not be a great night for an elaborate dinner – expect some fussiness at the table as the length and excitement of the day catches up (on everyone!). Something simple and fuss-free, with an enticing dessert, is the best plan.

And then – early to bed! Next thing you know, the following day will soon be with you and before you know it, you’re in the routine of your new chapter in life – one that will be filled with new friends, new adventures and lots of exciting stories of the day for you and your child to tell one another!

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