I’m usually an inspirational, “change your thoughts, change your life” kind of gal, but I’m also a teacher, and sometimes I just have to share what I believe are important things for parents to remember. Let’s face it, we’re all trying to do the best that we can, but life inevitably gets crazy at some point, especially when our children are school age.
Being a kindergarten teacher, I often see children ill prepared for the day they are about to embark on. For a wee little body and mind, they depend on us to equip them with tools to allow a happy, successful day. I want to share my thoughts about how a busy, overwhelmed parent can make their day and their child’s day go a little smoother!
1. Sleep! Make sure your child gets a good sleep. This is an obvious one, and sometimes one that’s not so easy to accomplish, but it absolutely is the most important thing on this list. Starting with a consistent bedtime routine, preparing your child for sleep should be a calm, loving experience for both of you. Consistency is the key! Too often, we give up when we just want peace more than anything, but persistence will eventually give you the results you want. Children crave routine. Your bedtime experience will be less chaotic if you create a routine that your child looks forward to. I also believe that it’s never too early to start meditating. Whatever your routine looks like, make sure it’s one that both of you enjoy. Make sure it’s relaxing rather than frantic, and it’s most likely going to look different for everyone. Design it tailor made for you and your child.
2. Wake up time! Please don’t go screaming into your child’s room yelling at them to get up because you’ve slept in and now will be late for work and school. Having a morning wake up routine is just as important as a bedtime routine. If you wake up late, grumpy, and dreading the day, so will your child. Make sure you have enough time to make the morning a happy experience. A happy parent equals a happy child! The drive or walk to school should be light and fun too. Sing songs, tell stories, or try my favourite, visualize your day. Have your child explain their perfect day to you. Then reinforce to them that it’s possible for their day to turn out exactly as they want it to. Don’t forget to tell them how much you love and believe in them before you say goodbye. This positive interaction will stay with them all day.
3. Healthy food! I really should have put this one in capital letters and underlined it. All too often (usually because we’ve done what I said not to do at the beginning of #2) we send our children to school without a proper, nutritious meal to start their day. And then we send them with a lunch that we’ve thrown together from a convenience store! Don’t take offence to this, we all are allowed to have a day or even several days where we just don’t have our lives together, (and Tim Hortons or 7-11 is on the way to school. Been there, done that) but if we want to give our children successful, happy days at school, we have to get it together more often than not. Preparing meals the night before can be be a huge time, and life saver. Remember that little minds work better when they are nourished properly.
Ok, so those are my top 3 gentle suggestions for a successful, happy day at school. These apply to young and old alike, however if we begin as early as possible in our child’s life with a routine, keep it fun and light, and consistent, the school day will be a breeze! Of course there will always be those days when you want to run away and hide in the mountains because you JUST CAN’T DO IT ANYMORE! That’s ok! I won’t tell anyone where you are!