Excitement, fear, elation, anxiety, anticipation, expectation and STRESS are all part of the process…

“Time flies when you’re having fun!” Nothing could be truer than the speed at which the holidays seem to come and go!

The last two weeks has been back-to-school for families around South Africa and, for so many, there is still ‘stuff’ to do in order to get settled – from the last-minute buying of uniforms and stationery to covering books and packing lunch boxes!

Everyone copes differently with some families even feeling the ‘back-to-school-blues’

Whilst the start of the school year can be overwhelming, there are ways that you can combat the back-to-school blues. Making small changes in your planning and preparation can make a big difference to your overall back-to-school experience!

Here are seven easy-to-follow tips:

  1. Lead the way: Your children are going to take their cue from you. Make it your priority to create an atmosphere of excitement and positive anticipation in your family as you prepare for the new school year!
  2. Plan, plan, plan: So often, the sheer enormity of the task ahead creates a sense of anxiety and stress! Create a comprehensive to-do list. Prioritise the most important requirements. Tick off the ‘done’ bits. In this way, you have a visual representation of your progress, helping you feel a sense of ‘getting there’!
  3. Include your children in activities: Covering books and labelling stationery together is a wonderful opportunity to teach independence and responsibility. In addition, you will have created a space for open discussion about the upcoming year.
  4. Have meaningful conversations: Talk to your children. What are they excited about? What activities do they want to participate in? What are their expectations and fears? Listen to understand and without judgement. Let your children know that you have their back. You are, after all, in this together!
  5. Prepare them for the unknown: If your child is starting a new school, for whatever reason, make sure that they know exactly what to do, where to go and who to talk to.
  6. It takes a village: It is essential to build strong relationships between parents, teachers and children and that everyone feels respected and supported. Make an effort to attend school meetings and try to get to know your child’s teachers. Positive connection is vitally important to a happy and successful school year!
  7. Create a safe space: For after-school discussions and positive problem-solving – no matter the challenge. The age-old tradition of sitting around a dining table is the perfect opportunity for connection, discussion and support.

Finally, remember to stay calm. This will ease the frustrations and tension in your home as you get organised. Remind yourself that all will be sorted out in good time.

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Breathe – you have this!

Article by: Cindy Glass, Owner and Co-Founder of Step Up Education Centres