5 ideas to prepare kids for school

When my children were younger and I was helping them prepare for the start of the new school year, I noticed a trend developing.  The emotions they felt and those expressed by their peers parents were the same at the start of a new term.

There was the tender excitement for what lay ahead, along with a nervous uncertainty.  Yes, there were moments when they were fully ready for what lay ahead, but, sometimes I noticed delay tactics, avoidance and at times, tears.  I don’t think I’m the only mom to have experienced these.  I must confess, however, that I did have an anxious moment of two over the years.  I think back to when my kids went to pre-school for the first time and then the day when they started Grade 1.  Oh my… I think I was on tender hooks all morning.  And then we moved.  My children had to start school in a new city and my son was about to go into high school.  We took photos, bought new school clothes, I prepared lunch boxes and special meals but the butterflies were still there.  Would Matt and Emily make friends?  Would they settle well? All these unanswered questions.  I’m sure you can imagine my palpable relief when they came out at lunchtime smiling.  School days aren’t all a piece of cake and as parents we ride the wave with our children.

Now, my son is about to start Matric and my daughter going into Grade 10.  High school is a little different to junior school but I still like to prepare them (and myself) for what will lie ahead, so here are some 5 tips for you to try:

1 . A week before school starts, start making sure that they wake up earlier.  Prepare them for this.  This will hep them adjust to a new school year before Day One arrives.

2 . Make sure that their books, stationery and clothes are ready at least 3 days before the term starts.  Don’t delay here.

3 . Do something special the day before or make a special meal the night before.  Take time to talk them about what they are looking forward to and perhaps what they are a little uncertain about.  Ask good questions and just listen. Be a safe space for them.

4 . If they are younger, make a fuss about doing something special after they come home.  If they are older, make sure you have yummy snacks available and a quiet home for them to settle into after school.

5 . If appropriate, tell some stories about how you handled school at their specific ages.  Also, let them know what their schedule will probably look like.

Then, after all is said and done, take a deep breath, say a prayer for them, hug them and smile.

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