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Teenagers and back to school

Yeah mom, you did it. You survived 8 weeks of holidays. Congratulations, you are now qualified to try out for the marines.

For any mom who have kids, holidays are not always a walk in the park. It is harder to keep kids busy over holidays than to give a grumpy cat a shower. When they are small, their attention span is shorter, so you must come up with more things to do to keep them entertained. BUT, if they are older, even though you can delegate things to do, they are not as receptive to your suggestions. They get hyper bored if they are denied constant access to their devices and that can be within the first minute of switching off the Wi-Fi.
In my house I had some time to myself because my kids are bigger, but I had to carefully plan it. The day I wanted to take off, I needed to make sure that the kids had a free reign day of online games, YouTube video’s, etc. We have rules about time spent online and their devices, but boy oh boy, some days I just gave up, those days I forgave myself that I couldn’t stay strong about timings and timetables. I accept that I’m normal and for the sake of peace and harmony, I gave in. Those days I was the coolest mom to them, but not an on fleek mom to myself.

I’m one of the moms that is chilling champagne in the fridge for Monday morning. I love my kids a lot, that’s why I rather have them go to school so that we can have a little vaca from each other. It’s been fun, but there is a good time for all things to start or finish and now the perfect time for the school year to start.

Shifting attention on the kids, they might be excited or they might be anxious going back to school. It might be a wonderful healthy blend of both. Great for the excitement as they will meet old or new friend, make new little resolutions to up their school game, find out how good the teacher will be, turn a new leaf to improve in their sports game and or find out what everyone has been up to for summer, if and where they travelled too. Those can all be very exciting to help them look forward to another year of learning and growing. In some cases, the unknown and unfamiliar can be a scary road to take. Perhaps they are moving country or school, they might not look forward to a new year because the last was very challenging, will they be able to perform the same, will they be able to please mom/dad/teacher, will their friends be as happy, did they do well with gaining social media followers, will their holiday story match that of their friends, will they fit in as they have or haven’t in the past… Unless we speak to our kids and find out where their head are spaced, we won’t know for sure.
If it is the latter, find a way to speak to your child about why they are anxious about school. It might be something small to talk about, but if it is something they cannot work out, something big, seek help. Drifting alone leads to stormy weather, best to catch it early on.

Either way, excited or a little anxious, here are a couple of tips on how to get your kid to look forward to their new school year.

1. Re-establish a good sleep routine
A few days before school starts, get them back into a good sleep routine so that they can get used to the early morning wake-up and to allow their natural cycle to adjust to falling asleep easy and waking up more refreshed. For teens this might be a challenge because their minds don’t switch off that early. Give a little leeway by allowing them to read or meditate, but most importantly, no devices 2 hours before bed. Be strict!

2. Celebrate the end of summer
Make it fun for summer to end so that they can trick their brains into looking forward to the school year. By celebrating the end of a fun enjoyable summer, your mind will focus on the happy side of it instead of dreading the new beginning.

3. Be organised
Help your child to label and pack everything necessary for the new school year the week before school officially starts. This way there won’t be panic about not having everything the night before. Be wardrobe ready - washed, ironed and in good condition. Sometimes kids don’t share what bothers them openly unless prompted, ask the right questions to how they feel with what their needs and must-haves are.

4. Buy something new
It doesn’t have to be big. It might be something small and silly, but it can serve a greater purpose. Perhaps it might be a new pencil case or a special bag tag, something that they are excited to share with their friends.

5. Set a goal together
Have them come up with one large reachable goal for the year and add a reward to it. Setting a goal with a reward will help them look forward to the year ahead. Help them to break the goal into small achievable benchmarks through the year. This will teach them about setting and smashing goals, also to work towards improvement and the reward that comes thereafter.

6. Be on time
Especially the first day. Work out a schedule together for the first morning from wake up to drop off at school. Give enough time to do everything, even though it might be in slow-mo. Remember, the first morning can be tough on all. Be sure to be on time for school to minimise tension and stress. This will set them up for success and great expectations which will get them into better favour for school.

7. Breathe
Kids don’t often show when they are a bit stress. When we are stressed, we breathe very shallow. Just before drop off, get the kids to take 3 deep breathes. This will help to minimise the stress and have them enter their new school year in zen.

Wishing all parents and kids a wonderful new school year!