September THAT’S AGES AWAY!
By Positive Parenting with Josie
In just over five months for many of our children, big changes will happen. Either a new school year, starting a bigger school or experiencing school for the first time. Now, I know it’s still a long way off, but that’s the great part, it gives you time to calmly prepare. It allows you the time to notice what areas your child might need support with, and the time to teach, fail, rethink and teach again-without time being a pressure.
Preparation and time allow you to help your child really succeed in their next steps. For me, as a mother of three I find myself thinking about September’s new school year already. Not with anxiety or worry but I like to forward think and look at what that time will look and feel like for my children. Firstly my preschooler starts school, he needs to know how to wipe his own bottom, now that takes training and many failed attempts. He also needs to learn how to button and unbutton a school shirt confidently and that’s not quick and easy, that’s without a school tie or tricky zips on a coat. Of course if these areas aren’t met a teacher will help but wouldn’t it be great for him to not need the help and feel capable, independent and responsible for himself. Also I know my son, he won’t respond well to having to wait in line to get his coat done up rather than already be playing outside. By me teaching him these simple tasks I’m ultimately empowering him for a great start to school!
My older daughter will be introduced to lockers, and will be expected to have all of her books in her bag for the rest of the afternoon. I need to ensure I am giving her the skills for thinking ahead and taking full responsibility. I’d like her to forget things and learn responsibility over the next five months in a place she is currently confident and empowered both in school now and at home. Of course I can wait and she will learn but I’d rather her not be worrying and focusing on her mistakes in a new environment but focusing on forming new friendships.
Closer to the time, I start 7 days before the first day back setting up a regular bedtime and wake-up routine is paramount. Before school starts, getting sleep is a crucial step to prepare your child for class and a practical one for the whole family. Tiredness can do all sorts of funny things to our attitudes and tolerance levels both to our children and us. We want our children to have tolerance as school requires buckets loads of this and a positive friendly attitude to their school life and peers. Sleep can only help with this!
While thinking about when school actually starts in the new academic year be aware of not over booking your kids with activities and continuous play dates. This is a mistake many parents make thinking it will be positive to build peers relationships. It ultimately will but we need to be conscious to let the first half term be slower and calmer, allow our children to adapt to the changes, and understand and manage their surroundings and emotional wellbeing. I am conscious that my daughter swimming six hours a week with a new school might turn out to be too much, I do not need to make decisions yet, but I need to be conscious of giving her some slack and question whether we are all expecting too much from her! (I mean I couldn’t do 6 hours of intense swim training a week!)
These next steps in both out children’s lives and ours are wonderful milestones and memories, sad or happy they are happening. I know I will cry a lot that first week my babies are growing but I know they will start school feeling capable, responsible and empowered. That bit makes me happy!