I can still recall that fearful, anxious feeling as a child upon seeing ‘back to school’ commercials on the TV when it was STILL the school holidays. The books, the stationary, and the shiny new backpacks splashed across the TV screen a week or two before the start of school. It felt like a forced realisation; the holidays were coming to an end and the looming reality of a more structured day to which school life reigned supreme could be ignored no longer.
In my little brain, I wasn’t ready. I was still daydreaming, still riding my bike, and swimming in backyard pools like time was non-existent and school life was just a memory. But the summer break is long and for most of us on holiday our daily routines become more dynamic, more impulsive, and less structured. All that time spent in unfamiliar countries, enduring long haul flights, experiencing different foods and cultures can affect a little body’s natural balance and interfere with sleep and eating patterns. Yet as adults, we can predict and prepare for these upheavals to our body clocks much better than our little ones.
I read a great article recently on how to prepare your child’s transition from ‘holiday’ ‘mode to ‘school’ mode and it has prompted me to write a few words on the subject. Yet, as we all have enough on our plates to deal with I’ve written a more simplified version.
All key advice points to ‘easing’ your child back in to school sleeping habits. Try putting the kids to bed earlier each night and gently waking them a little earlier each day and fingers crossed, you’ve reclaimed the school sleep-wake pattern.
It’s not always possible to eat dinner together as a family so why not consider shifting the focus to breakfast time? We’ve all heard those wise words proclaiming breakfast to be the most important meal of the day, so if you can manage to get everyone sitting at the table for five minutes each school day then you may appreciate precious family-bonding time together. As well, your little one just might leave for school a bit more calm and confident. Try it!
Talk, talk, talk about school. Talk about snack time, lunch time, play time. Talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Anything you hear from their little mouths is like gold! Your facial expression and honest engagement in hearing your child talk is like one big cuddle.