1. Sort Out The School Supplies
Children get extremely stressed out when they realise they’ve forgotten a textbook, or worse, brought their Chinese supplies for Science class. Avoid these errors by asking the teacher for a list of books, technology and supplies needed for the rest of the year, making sure you have them all ready before school starts. If you can, make copies of your child’s time table as well – then stick one in their study room, and another for yourself as an extra reminder.
2. Be Alert To Deeper Issues At Hand
When your kid consistently shows signs of resistance to school, such as clamming up when you mention a particular teacher, or sobbing at the mention of class activity – it could signal graver matters than expected. One parent shares how her four-year-old refused to go to school, kicking and crying before lessons, but going all silent when she gets picked up at the end of the day. Turned out her class teacher had physically punished the child, igniting fear. Thankfully, warning bells were spotted early and the kid is now happily planted in another preschool.
3. Learn To Differentiate Bodily Ills
As numerous studies will tell you, stress is capable of producing physical pains like stomach upsets, headaches and insomnia. If you spot these symptoms in your child, take care to identify the root of the problem, instead of immediately dispensing medicines or a trip to the doctor.
4. Make Time For Play
And we don’t mean the iPad or XBox console either. Instead of filling up every single hour of your child’s free time, create a pocket where they get to play out at the playground or you could take a quick drive to the beach. It’s possible to unwind in the house too. Set up a beanbag or hammock chair, create a cosy corner they can escape to, or bond over a simple board game that taps on their imagination such as Taboo and Articulate.
5. Re-align Bedtime Hours
If the kids often went to bed later than usual during the long school break, chances are their body clocks will need time to adjust back to awaking at 6 am again. Help them ease back into the momentum by creating a routine for their homework, play, dinner and bedtime, while also ensuring they stay off afternoon naps – the fastest way to messing up their sleep patterns once more. Enforcement is key.
6. Managing Priorities
It can get rather overwhelming when the school work, outside classes and extracurricular activities pile up all at once. Kids may not yet have the ability to manage priorities, so help by asking them to estimate how much time homework assignments should take etcetera. Once that’s all sorted, create a to-do list and plot which should come first, probably according to importance and urgency. Having boxes at the side to tick off once something is done will give the child a sense of satisfaction too.
7. Set The Gadget Boundary
Give the modern child a gadget and there’s a good chance they’ll be able to keep themselves entertained for hours on end. Now that school has started, establish a ground rule on how much gadget and screen time they are allowed daily. On your part, be sure to stay off the phone and emails too whenever you are together as a family, whether over dinner or relaxing before the television.
8. Listen In
Just like how you would love someone to hear about that annoying client who absolutely messed up your plans, or the colleague who just doesn’t seem to stop overstepping her boundaries – your child would love to have a listening ear at the end of a long school day too. Take the time to listen and connect, and make sure to give your full attention instead of multi-tasking.
9. Bring In The Timers
Have you seen those adorable timers in the shape of an egg, bread toaster or juicer? Plant one of those in your child’s room to help them focus on their to-do lists, making sure to reward later on with pockets of time to relax and recharge before going back to work. Or, every time you sense a ‘storm’ coming, turn the timer and give them exactly one minute to whine. After that, it’s back to work or family time.
(Photo: Natalie Joy Lee)
10. Offer Power In Wise Portions
Kids are less prone to complaining and defying if they are given some sort of control over their work and activities. To work their attention to your favour, simply offer them choices where all outcomes are acceptable to you, no matter what they pick.