The Back To School Tips You Wish You Read Last Week

Whether your babe is starting school/kindy for the first time this year or if you are a seasoned school parent, going "back to school" after the Christmas holidays can be a pretty emotional time. 

Your babe is growing up - taking steps away from you and towards independence. That comes with its own feelings that are behind a lot of the first day of school tears for both Mums & Dads. 

It can be emotional for our kids too - some kids will run off to school with no looking back and others will be clinging to you like a nylon dress on a 40 degree day. Each response is valid and normal.


We've put together some tips to help over the first few weeks of adjustment. Before you know it school drop offs may even feel like a relief #handball.


Prepare them, but don't pressure them

In the lead up to school/kindy we as parents often feel it is our responsibility to tell our kids just how much 'fun' they are going to have. We try to convince them that school is a 'fun' place where they will 'make lots of friends' and 'have a great time!'

For particularly anxious children, this type of language can be counterproductive and the truth is, school isn't always 'fun' for a lot of kids. 

It is our job to prepare them for school but not to put pressure on them to feel a certain way ("You are going to love school!") or to do certain things ("You are going to make so many friends!").

If your child is anxious you can help prepare them by...

Validating their feelings

It's normal for them to feel apprehensive or nervous. Let them know that. Let them know it is sometimes hard being in new situations and even you as an adult get nervous when you try things for the first time. It is ok to be nervous. You can tell them about a time a time that you had to start a new job and were nervous but how it worked out in the end.


Role-playing different scenarios

You can use dolls or teddies to role play different school scenarios. How to introduce yourself to new people and ask them if they want to play. What happens at lunchtime when everyone eats together. Getting ready for school and saying goodbye to your parents. Notice how they respond to each scenario and have them act some out and support their play. Role play can help identify which parts of the day are hard for your anxious babe and you can figure out the best way to support them.


Wake up early

Nothing quite adds to anxiety like having to rush for both kids and adults. Preparing the night before for school and giving yourselves extra time in the morning allows the space for all of those extra feelings. If getting in the car is the hard part, make sure you are walking out the door five minutes early. If it is saying goodbye at the class door, get there before everyone else. This won't be forever, just whilst they are adjusting. Allowing this time to validate their feelings helps them move past them in their own time rather than being rushed by our schedule. 


Image: Emotion Discs by @lovefromkk


Give them autonomy 

Sometimes it is easy to forget that our little people have their own opinions, thoughts, likes and dislikes, especially when we are rushed in the morning trying to get out the door.

But getting them involved in making decisions not only allows them to take responsibility for their choices but it helps empower them in their day to day. Rather than telling them what to do we can give them power over the areas of their life that they are age-ready for, which allows them to feel in control and secure.

Some of the ways you can give them autonomy over school based decisions are...


Ask them for ideas of what they'd like to eat for lunch and have them shop with you and help prepare their own lunchboxes. Depending how old they are this could be as simple as choosing where to put each thing in their bento lunchbox or making their own sandwiches. 


Have them choose their own clothes (the night before) and if dressing is a particular area of battle in the morning have them choose two outfits that they can choose from in the morning. If they have a uniform they can still choose things like their underwear, hair ties or shoes. Doing it the night before takes off the pressure of the morning when everyone is a little less patient.


Do you have two routes which you can drive/walk to school? Let them choose which way they'd like to go each morning. "Shall we walk past the park or the shops today?"


Image: Stainless steel bento lunchbox by Seed & Sprout

Getting out the door on time

Have you ever noticed the more you tell your kids to "hurry up" and go faster the more likely they are to need to show you how high they can jump (for the 3589th time) and tell you all about their Paw Patrol dream? 

They RESIST being told to hurry. Instead try some of these phrases...


"Let's pack your bag and then run to the door!"

"Let's get our shoes on quickly so we have time to see your friends before school"

"Do you think you can climb into your car seat and get your arms in the straps before I buckle in *insert siblings name here*


Small changes in the way we word things can help with power struggles and make the mornings less of a battle. Remember, it's tough for them to not be in control of their own schedule and at the mercy of someone else's time frame. 



Image: Tecla Table by @taylor_maree_photography



Tell us how your back to school went below in the comments and while you are here check out some of our range of mindful gifts and resources.




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