Mak­ing back to school time less stress­ful

It’s al­most time for the kids to go back to school but there are ways to make things eas­ier.

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER -

Sum­mer hol­i­days are al­most over and the kids will soon be go­ing to school. That means you have a big check­list to tick off. Uni­forms, sta­tionery, trans­port – it all needs to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion and it’s com­mon for par­ents, es­pe­cially those of first-timers, to feel over­whelmed and un­der­pre­pared by the time day one rolls around.

Don’t panic; here are a few tips that will make your childrens’ back to school ex­pe­ri­ence a lit­tle eas­ier:

1. Meet the teacher and scope out the right class­room be­fore the first day of school rolls around. The more pre­pared your child feels be­fore school starts, the more likely they’ll hit the ground run­ning.

2. Se­cond-hand is good. Kids out-grow just about ev­ery piece of cloth­ing they wear in less than a year, par­tic­u­larly when they’re younger. It makes sense to ex­change old uni­forms with your neigh­bours whose kids go to the same school as yours. Use neigh­bourly.co.nz to sell your old school uni­forms that are in ex­cel­lent qual­ity to neigh­bour­ing fam­i­lies, or ask around for ‘new’ threads for your own chil­dren.

3. Shop the sales. Th­ese days many schools pro­vide the par­ents of their stu­dents with long lists of sta­tionery and other back-toschool para­pher­na­lia that kids must take with them on their first day. Be or­gan­ised and don’t leave kit­ting out your chil­dren to the last minute. Make the most of sales at the big depart­ment stores, or if you’re re­ally or­gan­ised, or­der ev­ery­thing on­line.

4. Cre­ate a mini home of­fice. The older your chil­dren get, the more home­work they’re go­ing to be given. En­cour­age stu­dious habits from a young age by cre­at­ing a lit­tle per­son’s home of­fice. Your chil­dren will be more likely to want to do their home­work if they have a pur­pose­built space that’s just for them.

5. Cre­ate a cal­en­dar. It’s not al­ways easy to man­age life when one kid has rugby prac­tice three times a week and a game on Satur­day morn­ing, while an­other has bal­let on Mon­day, Girl Guides on Tues­day, pi­ano lessons on Thurs­day and net­ball on Satur­day af­ter­noon. Main­tain con­trol over your life by keep­ing a close eye on your chil­dren’s sched­ules and mak­ing it vis­i­ble to the whole fam­ily. Have a lot go­ing on? Slot in fam­ily time at least one night a week too.

6. School routes. It’s al­ways a night­mare try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate pre and post-school traf­fic, so think about al­ter­na­tive ways to get your kids to school. Can they walk? Ride their bikes? Take the bus? If the kids on your street tend to go to the same school, think about or­gan­is­ing a car­pool­ing ros­ter or a walk­ing school bus.

7. Treat your kids. Par­ents might re­gard the re­turn of the school term as a knight in shin­ing armour, but that doesn’t mean your chil­dren do. Make a big deal about them the week be­fore they go back to class – par­tic­u­larly if they’re feel­ing un­easy about it; start­ing at a new school, or have never been to school be­fore.

How to get the kids to and from school? Just one of the things you’ll need to give some thought to over the next few days.

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