10 WAYS TO GET BACK-TOSCHOOL READY RIGHT NOW
Running a household has its ups and downs so each week we bring you the latest tips and tricks to make your home life easier TIPS TO HELP THE WHOLE FAMILY GET READY FOR SCHOOL
ROUND-UP THE ROUTINE
Yes, it’s January but it’s never too early to get into the swing of routine. Consider making bedtime a little earlier each night, as well as timing breakfast and lunch to fit in with the times children would eat on a normal school day. According to the Raising Children Network, daily routines help set our body clocks ‒ bedtime routines help children’s bodies ‘know’ when it’s time to sleep. This can be particularly helpful when children reach adolescence and their body clocks start to change. Furthermore, Raising Children notes that routines have health benefits, too; children in families with regular routines have fewer respiratory infections than those in routine-free homes.
START MEAL PLANNING WEEKLY
The new year is a great time to look at what you eat and start planning meals weekly if you don’t already according to
Caroline Guillemain-brunne, the founder of Organise.curate.design. And that includes school lunches and snacks for the term ahead.
“I recommend to clients that they set aside an hour to plan each dinner, and breakfast and lunch if needed, while writing a grocery list or ordering your items online,” she says.
It’s true, the school yard is a well-known breeding ground for nasties whether its colds, flus or stomach bugs. Children’s immune systems are less mature than those of adults, so they’re more susceptible to germs. While it’s impossible to entirely prevent the transmission of germs, ensure children wash their hands regularly and cover their coughs and sneezes with their hands and a tissue (that should be thrown out immediately). Help the immune system by making sure a healthy lunch is packed, your child is drinking enough water, and that they are getting some form of exercise every day.
TACKLING EXAM STRESS
There’s no denying that teenage years can be very stressful. According to Reachout.com, Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people, many teens feel as if their entire life depends on their Year 12 results. Of course, we know that there’s life after the HSC. Changes in your child’s behaviour that might indicate high levels of stress include different eating and sleeping habits, trouble concentrating and increased irritability. If you are worried, have a chat to your GP. You can also find out detailed strategies
to help your child cope by visiting parents.au.reachout.com.
TAKE A LOAD OFF
According to the Australian Chiropractors Association, school backpacks should be ideally be no heavier than 10 per cent of a student’s weight when packed. They suggest you choose a backpack with broad, padded shoulder straps. Both shoulder straps should be used, as well as the waist straps, to lighten the load.
Do you have a child starting school and wonder if there might be a bully among the ranks? According to Michelle Mitchell, author, speaker and former teacher (michellemitchell.org) bullies are an unavoidable part of life.
“Schools are more proactive than they used to be in this area, so be assured that there is a lot that can be done if your child is genuinely being bullied,” says Michelle.
“The best thing parents can proactively do is talk to their children about healthy relationships and what they look like. They should have a clear understanding of what it means to be a friend and how a friend should treat them. They also need back-up friends, which is a set of friends (or two) that ensures their social circle is bigger than just school.”
TACKLE DAY ONE JITTERS
Have a child starting school? There’s a good chance there will be some first-day anxiousness, but according to Michelle, Kindy and Year 1 teachers are a special breed who are built for their jobs.
“I know because I was one! Have confidence that they will be aware of your son throughout the day and are fully qualified to support,” she says.
“Teachers structure the first few days of schools to make it as easy as possible for each child, including shy and nervous [kids], to make friends and get used to their routine.’ As for first-day jitters for Mum and Dad? Michelle says anxious mums and dads should remind themselves of two things;
1. Their kids are in a safe environment and
2. They can handle what life throws at them.
SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING
Kids on their devices too much? Michelle Mitchell recommends creating a social media contract with your child, which lays out crystal clear expectations.
“Too often parents aren’t clear themselves on what the rules with regards to screen time actually are,” she says. “Forcing yourself to write down expectations will ensure you are clear. Think about how much time per day is reasonable, when that time will be allocated, where technology is charged at night and how you will manage settings and passwords.”
There are also apps you can download, too. Install the Antisocial app on your child’s phone, for example, to be able to block social media remotely.
GET THE CALENDAR UP TO DATE
According to Caroline Guillemainbrunne, January is a perfect time to create a master calendar or schedule, if you don’t have one already.
“Where possible, create one master calendar, preferably online, that has everyone’s commitments. Having everything in once space with all birthdays, social commitments and school activities will ensure you are not double booking yourself ” she says.
While you’re at it, Caroline says it’s also a good idea to set aside a few hours to book in all your appointments for the year:
“Book in a general health check-up with your family doctor and as well as your annual optometrist and bi-annual dental appointments.’