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Guide to the 11 plus what, where, and when
When it comes to parental skills for managing their children’s return to school, do not allow the plethora of parenting recommendations to make you feel overwhelmed. Consider each piece of advice with a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude.
Celebrate their previous year’s achievements
Boost your child’s self-confidence and positivity by celebrating their past achievements. Reflect on their accomplishments from the previous academic year.
You can use physical mementos of your child’s accomplishments to deepen their positive emotions when reliving the emotions of success. This will reinforce their sense of capability and self-assurance.
Promote relaxed homework mindsets
Firstly, talk with them about when to study and when to relax. Make sure they keep phones away while studying, and let them know when they can use them.
Secondly, remember to listen carefully to your children since this alone makes them feel a lot more independent.
Master bedtime routines
Having a bedtime routine is crucial. It helps your child know what to do as the evening goes on.
Create stress free meal times
To make mealtime smoother during the week, it helps to have a rough plan for what you’ll eat Monday to Friday. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can be flexible.
Secondly, keep some ideas and ’emergency’ options back. This will make family meal times easier when everyone’s home from work and school.
Reduce their external responsibilities
Instead of rushing, ease into the new school year. Reduce activities outside of school so that after-school and weekends are for relaxing and spending time together.
Make lunchboxes fun
Kids are more likely to eat food they help choose. Let them write a shopping list, pick items at the store (give options if needed), and even assemble their own lunchbox.
Set-up a special basket. Just for each child to select items each morning for their own lunchbox. You will easily be able to see what you have and so can replenish it with healthy items only as needs be.
Prepare their uniforms
A subtler alternative to name tags is to use colored labels or add patterns like stripes or circles so they can recognize their own clothes. Have them prepare their uniform the night before, shining shoes, getting their PE kit, and learning how to tie a tie with YouTube tutorials.
Create a checklist for each child, using pictures if they can’t read yet. Before they leave, remind them to check their list: ‘Swim kit? Got it. Violin? Got it.’ This builds independence and helps you avoid keeping track of everything.
Print out timetables
Put a printed timetable on the fridge to easily see when PE kits or after-school club items are needed.
Always wear-in new shoes
When buying new school shoes, have your children wear them around the house before school starts. It might be tempting to keep them looking brand new, but wearing them beforehand prevents blisters and discomfort, making them more comfortable on the first day.
Try out using a hanging closet
To make mornings easier, add a hanging closet labeled with the days of the week in their wardrobe. Put clean socks and underwear inside, and place the uniform on top at night. This saves time searching in the morning.
And finally, your own mixed emotions
When your child starts school for the first time, give yourself a moment to release any tears or anxiety alone. This way, you’ll be calmer when you arrive at school, setting a positive example for your child. If you’re anxious or crying, they might feel the same way. But if you’re calm and smiling, the drop-off will likely go smoothly.