One of the great things about writing books that help little people through big moments, like starting school, is you figure out how to solve some of the parenting issues you’re having yourself. It’s a win-win.
The tone that’s set in the morning can follow us throughout our day. The ultimate goal is for everyone to get to where we’re going feeling cool, confident and connected. It’s no mean feat when there’s a limited window of time and an unlimited number of shoes, jerseys and drink bottles to locate …
That morning scramble
It’s a total mystery for me how one morning I can run a tight ship and the next morning, it’s a pirate ship. The timings are the same, the conditions vary only a little ... why is it a total scramble one morning and not on others? More importantly, how can we make it better?
In researching for the Ready for School book we learnt some great techniques to help achieve a smooth start to the day. That little bit of extra fine-tuning is definitely starting to pay off, even though it feels like a marathon, rather than a sprint to get there.
4 Tips to calm the chaos
1. Make a Chart — Make an activity with your child of creating a visual chart for your morning routine. You can draw it together, cut out pictures or take photos of them as they are getting ready. Engaging your kids in this activity gives them a sense of ownership over the tasks they need to be responsible for, and a visual reminder to refer back to.
2. Create independence — Foster your child’s independence and self-management for things that need to be done in the morning. Encourage them to get dressed, put on their shoes, go to the toilet, brush their teeth and hair, eat their breakfast and pack their bag without your intervention (or, at least, with as little intervention as possible).
3. Train yourself out of helping — In the short term it’s more efficient to just do things ourselves, we get it, but, it’s time to embrace a new stage and one that will help them as they settle into a school environment that demands greater self-management and independence. We have to train ourselves out of helping and doing everything just because we’re used to it and it’s easier. This might mean getting up a little earlier for a while as everyone gets used to doing what needs to be done.
4. Be patient — Think ‘long game’. This ‘fostering’ of greater independence and self-management takes time and vast oceans of patience and repetition. However, in time you will be rewarded by the fruits of your labour, and so will your child, and your child’s teacher! It’s a great idea to start back into a structured morning routine in the week leading up to starting or going back to school. Set some expectations around what your child needs to do for themselves in the mornings and what they need to be responsible for.
Making the tricky job of parenting a little bit easier
Ready for School helps parents and caregivers open important conversations with their children about their next big moment so they can provide the love and support they need to become a courageous schoolkid. We’ve put this book together with consultation from our child development experts to make the tricky job of parenting that little bit easier. It’s full of practical tips, ideas, language and strategies that will help your child get well prepared, and start school with confidence.
We hope that now, more than ever, it can relieve some of the anxiety of entering into a new and unfamiliar situation as families and schools continue to adapt in the face of major disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.