CHAMPION COLUMN | Four quick tips to stress-free back-to-school time

Generic image. Picture: Bay Public Relations
Generic image. Picture: Bay Public Relations

The holidays will be over soon and it’s time to prepare for the new school year.  For many parents, getting organised for back to school can involve a lot of running around, shopping for new shoes and uniforms, digging out the old ones, buying new notebooks and stationery – it’s endless. When the night before school comes around, parents are frazzled and that’s before getting the kids out the door next morning. The key is planning out the routine and delegating responsibility.

We often end up doing it all. From making breakfast, to clearing dishes, supervising face-washing and teeth-cleaning. By involving the kids, you not only take the strain off yourself, you empower them which builds independent thinking and confidence.

Tips for getting back to school stress-free:

  1. Pre-plan: More than a routine, it’s about understanding the desired flow for the week, term, activities and timing. Communicate this in advance so the family is working together and has an action plan. Kids and parents should understand what they each have on. Have a family meeting before the new term starts. Make a planning chart together using different colour pens for different activities.
  1. Make a list: Together with your kids, list all tasks that need to be done to get to school on time. Kids love to volunteer what they think! Start with night-before tasks, like, lay out clean uniform and shoes.
  1. Delegate: Involve kids in planning, give them a voice which removes you from being the nagger. Mutually agree and assign tasks so everyone knows his or her role.
  1. Stay positive: Easier said than done, especially when kids are lagging and time is marching. Check in on progress and encourage them to refocus if distracted. Ask them to advise you how they’re tracking rather than nagging.

Having great morning routines for each family member takes practice and working together. Remember to laugh, practise and persevere.

GENEVIEVE MATTHEWS

Mother of two and founder of schoolscoming.com, an online and printed back-to-school resource for parents

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