Now that the holidays are finally over, another stress (as well as a welcome break) comes… sending them back to school. For parents (especially mothers), sending their children to school for the first time, it is both an exciting and stressful time. Not only do you have to run around for school uniforms, stationary and so many other things your child will require for their first year of school, but you also have to deal with your own feelings of realising that your child is now growing up.

You are also not the only one that has to deal with anxieties; your child might have a similar fear, even though it might not be identical. Think back to your first day at school. Ok, granted that most of us cannot remember it, but my mother always tells how we used to cry on each of our first days at school, not my brother though. One thing I do remember though is that whenever I had to go to school again, whether it was after the December, June or any other holiday, I used to get sick. In the beginning my mother thought that it was just me pretending to be sick to avoid going to school, but then I was taken to the doctor and I ended up having a throat infection . This phenomenon then occurred every time I had to go to school after the holidays.
Now I am the first to admit that the mind is a powerful thing and that it can affect ones emotions and physical wellbeing. So if I did that to myself for fear of going back to school, how do kids today cope with going to school after the holidays, whether it is for the first time or not?
So in the light of this I decided to find some tips for both parents and children for the week that lies ahead to help them cope with the back to school woes.

1. Physical and mental health
Like I used get sick the day before school started, it would be best to have your kids checked out at least a week before school start. Take them to the doctor and the dentist to make sure that everything is fine. Listen to when they say that something is wrong. Sometimes it could just be them trying to get out of something, but you don’t want to take the risk.
Also, listen to them and see how they are feeling about going back to school. Sometimes they could be excited but more than often they could be really scared. If they say that they are scared to go to school, ask them why and don’t judge. If they don’t want to talk to you, go talk to their teacher. It could be bullying, that they are too shy to fit in or it could be that they are struggling with their work. It could also be things like ADHD or anything else. Make sure that your child is talking to you at all times. Ask them how their day was and have a special time where you sit down with them to do so. So listen and make sure that they are physically as well as mentally fine and prepared.

2. Check information, get organised.
Most schools send out a list of uniforms and stationary ahead of time. Don’t leave it till the last minute and then you have to rush around trying to get everything all at once. Chances are that you will not find everything you are looking for because it is sold out and that will cause stress for both you and your child.
Organise your time effectively and involve your child in the purchasing of their items. Even better, one of my friends told me that her parents used to send her and her brother to the shops to buy their own stationary with the list as well as an amount of money that slightly exceeded what they were supposed to buy. She said that it used to make her feel like an adult and really did wonders to her self esteem to know that her parents trusted her and her brother to buy the correct things.
You should also budget ahead of time for all the items that you will have to purchase. This does not only count for the first day of school, but for the rest of the year and your child’s life as a scholar as well. There is nothing as stressful as worrying about money when your kids do or need something. So plan your expenses so that you are prepared for anything that might happen. Whether it is replacing new school shoes near the end of the month or allowing your child to join an extracurricular activity that might cost more if he or she chooses to do so.

3. Re-establish a routine or create new ones
During the holidays, all routines fly out the window the day the kids come home from school on that last day. They get to stay up later, they sleep later, their eating patterns might change and basically you as well as your kids are just laid back during the holidays.
It is important for you as well as your child to get back into a routine. Put the T.V off sooner, serve supper at regular times and help them especially with their sleeping patterns. Have them be in bed the time they would have to be if it were a school night. They might hate it and you might struggle with them a lot in the beginning, but it will be worth it when the days of school finally come.

4. Do a trial run.
This relates to the above issue but it can also include driving your child to school, after school activities and picking them up from where ever they are. Take all things into consideration, children over sleeping, you over sleeping, robots and traffic in the morning, you running late in the office, etc. Life is unpredictable, we know, but it is better to go through life with your eyes wide open and prepared than to wait for the unexpected to happen.

5. Let your children know you care.
Once again this is where listening to your child’s problems as well as there achievements and all round good times. Parents are sometimes so involved with providing for their children financially that they forget that sometimes kids just want their parents to listen. Late in life when they are teenagers, these scenarios might not happen, that is why it is so important to let your child know that you care about what happens in their life.
This could also include helping them with their homework. Now this could be a tricky one because when I look at the school curriculums now and I remember the things I used to do in the first grade, it is so advanced. I remember in first grade we used to cut out pictures, colour in and paint , not to mention having the teacher read us books. Now they are already learning about the president! It really helps to keep up with what is happening in your child’s level of schooling so that they know that you care about what is happening in their lives. It might also be fun to learn with them as well.

6. Try not to overreact and reassure them
This relates especially to parents of first time scholars. Sometimes parents are more anxious then their children for the fear of having an empty nest. Now I know that they are not going away forever, and parents know that as well, but it does not stop them from feeling sad that their little boy or girl is growing up now.
It is important that you don’t cry, hug or kiss your child too much. They will see that you are sad and will worry about you or think that there is something to worry about at school. If you do feel the flurry of tears coming on, try and hold them back till in the car or at home. And if you do cry, tell them that you are crying because you are so proud of them because they are such a big boy or girl now. That way, both you and your child will be reassured that things will not be as bad as you feared and that they are a big child now. I know that some first time scholars like referring to primary school as big school, so let them know that it is because they are growing up now and that you are proud that they have reached this mile stone.

7. Reinsure your child’s ability to cope
Let your child know you believe in them and that you trust that they can handle whatever life throws their way. I am not saying paint a pretty picture of moonshine and roses here about life, but prepare your child that things can go wrong, but that there are parents, teachers and other children that can help. Remind them of how they coped in previous situations where it might have seemed just as bad, but they got through it. It is never too
early to teach a child that we go through things in life that we don’t always like but that at the end of the day it makes us stronger because then we know how to cope should the situation arise again.

8. Lunch
Get your child involved with the shopping as well as making of the lunch. I remember many a day that I used to fear first interval because I did not want to expect cheese and tomato again. The bread would be all soggy and there was hardly any person that I could exchange it with. If kids are involved in making their own lunch, this way they can have what they want for lunch, you can teach them about nutritional information and they learn confidence in themselves. This makes it less of a job for you to do alone.

9. Outside influences
Meeting new kids at school could be a stressful situation for both you and your kids. For them, they could fear that they won’t make any friends at school and for you, knowing that you won’t be the key influence in your child’s life anymore. They could have good friends and bad friends, it is up to you to teach your child about making the right choices as far as friends are concerned.
Also, to ease your own anxiety, invite your child’s friends over for a sleepover or a party to get to know them a bit better. Another good idea is to get to know your child’s friends parents as well. That way you can learn more about the child as well as get to know the parents that you might have to contact should your child be spending time at their place.

10. Meet those involved in your child’s schooling life
It is important to get to know your child’s teacher as well as the after care teacher if your child should have to go to something like that. This way you will get to know the type of person that will be dealing with your child as well as your child dealing with them. It will also make it easier if you have a problem of any sorts then you know who to talk to. Getting to know the principal as well as any other teacher involved in any activities with your child is also a good idea. This will also reassure you as a parent and help with your back to school woes as well.

So enjoy the last few days of holiday with your child and look forward to your days of doing your own thing as well.
They all grow up so fast, don’t they?

Sources
www.nasponline.org
http://pediatrics.about.com

Now that the holidays are finally over, another stress (as well as a welcome break) comes… sending them back to school. For parents (especially mothers), sending their children to school for the first time, it is both an exciting and stressful time. Not only do you have to run around for school uniforms, stationary and so many other things your child will require for their first year of school, but you also have to deal with your own feelings of realising that your child is now growing up.

You are also not the only one that has to deal with anxieties; your child might have a similar fear, even though it might not be identical. Think back to your first day at school. Ok, granted that most of us cannot remember it, but my mother always tells how we used to cry on each of our first days at school, not my brother though. One thing I do remember though is that whenever I had to go to school again, whether it was after the December, June or any other holiday, I used to get sick. In the beginning my mother thought that it was just me pretending to be sick to avoid going to school, but then I was taken to the doctor and I ended up having a throat infection . This phenomenon then occurred every time I had to go to school after the holidays.
Now I am the first to admit that the mind is a powerful thing and that it can affect ones emotions and physical wellbeing. So if I did that to myself for fear of going back to school, how do kids today cope with going to school after the holidays, whether it is for the first time or not?
So in the light of this I decided to find some tips for both parents and children for the week that lies ahead to help them cope with the back to school woes.

1. Physical and mental health
Like I used get sick the day before school started, it would be best to have your kids checked out at least a week before school start. Take them to the doctor and the dentist to make sure that everything is fine. Listen to when they say that something is wrong. Sometimes it could just be them trying to get out of something, but you don’t want to take the risk.
Also, listen to them and see how they are feeling about going back to school. Sometimes they could be excited but more than often they could be really scared. If they say that they are scared to go to school, ask them why and don’t judge. If they don’t want to talk to you, go talk to their teacher. It could be bullying, that they are too shy to fit in or it could be that they are struggling with their work. It could also be things like ADHD or anything else. Make sure that your child is talking to you at all times. Ask them how their day was and have a special time where you sit down with them to do so. So listen and make sure that they are physically as well as mentally fine and prepared.

2. Check information, get organised.
Most schools send out a list of uniforms and stationary ahead of time. Don’t leave it till the last minute and then you have to rush around trying to get everything all at once. Chances are that you will not find everything you are looking for because it is sold out and that will cause stress for both you and your child.
Organise your time effectively and involve your child in the purchasing of their items. Even better, one of my friends told me that her parents used to send her and her brother to the shops to buy their own stationary with the list as well as an amount of money that slightly exceeded what they were supposed to buy. She said that it used to make her feel like an adult and really did wonders to her self esteem to know that her parents trusted her and her brother to buy the correct things.
You should also budget ahead of time for all the items that you will have to purchase. This does not only count for the first day of school, but for the rest of the year and your child’s life as a scholar as well. There is nothing as stressful as worrying about money when your kids do or need something. So plan your expenses so that you are prepared for anything that might happen. Whether it is replacing new school shoes near the end of the month or allowing your child to join an extracurricular activity that might cost more if he or she chooses to do so.

3. Re-establish a routine or create new ones
During the holidays, all routines fly out the window the day the kids come home from school on that last day. They get to stay up later, they sleep later, their eating patterns might change and basically you as well as your kids are just laid back during the holidays.
It is important for you as well as your child to get back into a routine. Put the T.V off sooner, serve supper at regular times and help them especially with their sleeping patterns. Have them be in bed the time they would have to be if it were a school night. They might hate it and you might struggle with them a lot in the beginning, but it will be worth it when the days of school finally come.

4. Do a trial run.
This relates to the above issue but it can also include driving your child to school, after school activities and picking them up from where ever they are. Take all things into consideration, children over sleeping, you over sleeping, robots and traffic in the morning, you running late in the office, etc. Life is unpredictable, we know, but it is better to go through life with your eyes wide open and prepared than to wait for the unexpected to happen.

5. Let your children know you care.
Once again this is where listening to your child’s problems as well as there achievements and all round good times. Parents are sometimes so involved with providing for their children financially that they forget that sometimes kids just want their parents to listen. Late in life when they are teenagers, these scenarios might not happen, that is why it is so important to let your child know that you care about what happens in their life.
This could also include helping them with their homework. Now this could be a tricky one because when I look at the school curriculums now and I remember the things I used to do in the first grade, it is so advanced. I remember in first grade we used to cut out pictures, colour in and paint , not to mention having the teacher read us books. Now they are already learning about the president! It really helps to keep up with what is happening in your child’s level of schooling so that they know that you care about what is happening in their lives. It might also be fun to learn with them as well.

6. Try not to overreact and reassure them
This relates especially to parents of first time scholars. Sometimes parents are more anxious then their children for the fear of having an empty nest. Now I know that they are not going away forever, and parents know that as well, but it does not stop them from feeling sad that their little boy or girl is growing up now.
It is important that you don’t cry, hug or kiss your child too much. They will see that you are sad and will worry about you or think that there is something to worry about at school. If you do feel the flurry of tears coming on, try and hold them back till in the car or at home. And if you do cry, tell them that you are crying because you are so proud of them because they are such a big boy or girl now. That way, both you and your child will be reassured that things will not be as bad as you feared and that they are a big child now. I know that some first time scholars like referring to primary school as big school, so let them know that it is because they are growing up now and that you are proud that they have reached this mile stone.

7. Reinsure your child’s ability to cope
Let your child know you believe in them and that you trust that they can handle whatever life throws their way. I am not saying paint a pretty picture of moonshine and roses here about life, but prepare your child that things can go wrong, but that there are parents, teachers and other children that can help. Remind them of how they coped in previous situations where it might have seemed just as bad, but they got through it. It is never too
early to teach a child that we go through things in life that we don’t always like but that at the end of the day it makes us stronger because then we know how to cope should the situation arise again.

8. Lunch
Get your child involved with the shopping as well as making of the lunch. I remember many a day that I used to fear first interval because I did not want to expect cheese and tomato again. The bread would be all soggy and there was hardly any person that I could exchange it with. If kids are involved in making their own lunch, this way they can have what they want for lunch, you can teach them about nutritional information and they learn confidence in themselves. This makes it less of a job for you to do alone.

9. Outside influences
Meeting new kids at school could be a stressful situation for both you and your kids. For them, they could fear that they won’t make any friends at school and for you, knowing that you won’t be the key influence in your child’s life anymore. They could have good friends and bad friends, it is up to you to teach your child about making the right choices as far as friends are concerned.
Also, to ease your own anxiety, invite your child’s friends over for a sleepover or a party to get to know them a bit better. Another good idea is to get to know your child’s friends parents as well. That way you can learn more about the child as well as get to know the parents that you might have to contact should your child be spending time at their place.

10. Meet those involved in your child’s schooling life
It is important to get to know your child’s teacher as well as the after care teacher if your child should have to go to something like that. This way you will get to know the type of person that will be dealing with your child as well as your child dealing with them. It will also make it easier if you have a problem of any sorts then you know who to talk to. Getting to know the principal as well as any other teacher involved in any activities with your child is also a good idea. This will also reassure you as a parent and help with your back to school woes as well.

So enjoy the last few days of holiday with your child and look forward to your days of doing your own thing as well.
They all grow up so fast, don’t they?

Sources
www.nasponline.org
http://pediatrics.about.com

 

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