If the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year; then January, if you don’t tackle it wisely, tends to be the opposite. The adjustment can be especially tough for parents of children who are new to pre-school or primary school. The stress of preparation while making sure that your children are also emotionally and mentally ready can sometimes be a bit overwhelming – but it is not impossible. In fact, it’s as easy as the ABCs!
Organise, organise, organise
Besides making your lives less chaotic, organising with your children is an effective way to make sure that their emotional and mental readiness is on track. In addition to sitting them down to explain that they will be going to ‘big school’, mention it regularly in the weeks leading up to the Big Day. This will help them adjust to the idea and even get excited about it.
- Get fun supplies (calendar, notepad, stationery) for your ‘strat session’. They will use this to set up a daily routine with you, and to make a checklist of all the things that are needed for their school adventure. Some schools provide lists already – use these as a starting point and ask your child to add on his or her specific needs.
- Separate the lists – but don’t make too many. Too many will overwhelm them, too little will make organising harder. Three lists – Preparing for School, Everyday Tasks, and Long-term Goals – should be enough. Personal goals can be included in Long-term Goals, and the Everyday Tasks list can be updated to include bite-size tasks that will go towards completing big school projects.
- Create a system of accountability – with consequences should they not follow through on their daily tasks. Collaborating on the system of accountability as well as consequences helps children to learn responsibility.
- Give rewards where necessary. Giving lots of encouragement during the process is good for their self-esteem and motivation. They may even start being proactive about some of their daily tasks!
Once you have survived the excitement and bustle of the festive season, planning season begins. Shifting focus as a family helps your children learn the value of planning ahead, and taking charge and responsibility for their lives. The best part, of course, of getting your children involved in the planning process, is that some of the load is taken off of you! Go team!