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“Holidays disrupt routines for parents as well as children, so for the best start possible to the new school year you need to be prepared physically and mentally,” advises positive psychology coach Kate Wilkie from Flourishing Mothers, a coaching service to help mothers thrive and live flourishing lives by building resilience to stress and boosting wellbeing.
Kate’s top tips for getting the family back to school with ease:
1. Go back to routine
Reset the entire family’s eating and sleeping times at least a few days before school starts to get a normal routine back on track, and get your kids involved in the planning so they understand what you’re trying to achieve.
2. Wean the screens
Less screen time is a useful goal to help set you up for less stress and happier mornings in the new school year.
3. Plan it out
Develop a to-do list with your kids including things like shopping for school uniforms and stationery. Creating a family wall-chart or diary is a great idea too and can be made fun with special date stamps like Frixion Stamps which feature mini designs depicting different activities. These work well for children who are still learning to read and write, plus they’re erasable so you can remove them if dates change.
4. Give them responsibility
If you let them do some things on their own they’ll feel more competent and confident which is great for their wellbeing. So have them choose their own stationery and encourage them to pack their own backpack. When kids are more independent it helps the whole family.
5. Encourage organisation
Don’t run around the house the first morning of school making lunch and packing. Avoid that frazzled feeling and teach your children the power of organisation by getting everything ready the night before. Together, make the lunch box, pack the backpack and make sure the school uniform is ironed and good to go for a relaxed start to the day.
6. Boost positivity
A great way to reduce back to school stress and get your kid in a positive mindset, is to celebrate the new school year. Take your child out for their favourite meal, surprise them with colourful stationery, or take them to see that movie they’ve been wanting to see.
Holidays are meant for relaxing, but if you leave it to the last minute to get organised for getting the kids off to school Kate warns you can end up stressed and frazzled and ruin the benefits from your time off.
“It may be the last thing you want, but being proactive and organised for the start of school will make you enjoy the benefits of the summer holidays much longer,” says Kate.
Kate Wilkie is a positive psychology coach at Flourishing Mothers. For more information, visit www.flourishingmothers.com.au.