Holidays are like cats! They creep into your lap for a cuddle and just when you start feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, they jet off to some unknown place, leaving you feeling disappointed and perhaps a little cold! Is this not true of these school holidays? They crept in, had a cuddle and left – just like that!
Cindy Glass, Owner and Co-Founder of Step Up Education Centres says, “Families around South Africa are frantically trying to prepare for the new school year. Uniforms, stationery, lunch boxes! Grade 1’s are going to big school and Grade 8’s are starting high school – both ‘small fish in big ponds’. Money is being spent, transport is being planned and emotions are running all over the place! Excitement, fear, elation, anxiety, anticipation, expectation and STRESS are all a part of the process. Everyone copes differently, with some families even feeling the ‘back-to-school-blues’.”
Cindy adds that a smooth start to the year is as easy as making small changes to how you approach the next couple of weeks.
She offers 6 helpful tips for parents:
- Set the tone: Your children are going to take their cue from the words you speak and the actions that you take. Make it your priority to create an atmosphere of excitement and positive anticipation in your family as you prepare for the new school year!
- Get organised: So often, the sheer enormity of the task ahead creates a sense of anxiety and stress! Create a comprehensive to-do list. Prioritise the most important requirements. Tick off the ‘done’ bits. In this way, you have a visual representation of your progress, helping you feel a sense of ‘getting there’!
- Get your children involved: Covering books and labelling stationery together is a wonderful opportunity to teach independence and responsibility. In addition, you will have created a space for open discussion about the upcoming year.
- Talk to your children: What are they excited about, what activities do they want to participate in, what are their expectations and fears? Listen to understand and without judgement. Let your children know that you have their back. You are, after all, in this together!
- Eliminate as many of the unknowns as possible: If your child is starting a new school, for whatever reason, make sure that they know exactly what to do and where to go.
- Positive connection is key: Remember that it takes a village to bring up a child. It is essential that parents, teachers and children feel respected and supported. Make an effort to attend school meetings and try to get to know your child’s teachers with will allow for a happy and successful school year!
“Finally, create a safe space within your family home for after-school discussions and positive problem-solving – no matter the challenge. The age-old tradition of sitting around a dining table is the perfect opportunity for connection, discussion and support. You will be amazed at how much you will learn about your children and how best to support them if you just take the time to listen carefully and without judgement. The importance of family and the role it plays in a positive education experience cannot be overstated!” Cindy concludes.