New South Wales
The end of the holidays is looming, and not every child is keen to return to the world of lessons and scheduled lunch breaks! Sarah Carman from Sponge Education shares the key way to make the transition back to school easy on your child, and get the reluctant return-to-school kids excited again.
As a kid, surrendering my school-holiday freedom in late January was never top of my list. To my immense irritation, back-to-school preparations had a rather annoying habit of interrupting my leisure plans. Four weeks simply was not enough time to build all possible variants with one’s Christmas Lego set.
And yet, resistance to the whole back-to-school thing was minimal. With clever traditions and other tactics, my parents ensured that this time of year could be survived without tantrums. It turns out that braving the stationery aisle can be enjoyable. The key is to get kids on board with a something-for-everyone strategy.
One of my favourite back-to-school memories is going to Chatswood Chase with my Dad, to visit Shoes and Socks. With my feet growing so rapidly, it was an annual event. We’d set off early, listening to music in the car all the way there. We’d wander through the warren of escalators until we found the shop front. I’d see it in the distance and run along ahead in excitement… I think it was something about walking up onto the seating platform for kids, and being at eye-level with the staff, that made me feel extra special every time we went. I’d try on a few different styles and strut up and down the length of the shop in a way I would never actually walk in real life. That was half the fun. Regardless of the usefulness of the test-strut, it always resulted in a pair of appropriately fitted school shoes. Successfully soled for another year, we’d celebrate by hitting up Delifrance. It was always a drink and an almond croissant to share. We did this every year, and so it became tradition.
Framing those boring back-to-school jobs in a positive way is the way to go. Create a fun tradition or activity around each chore.
Covering exercise books? Well, that’s an opportunity to choose new book designs in line with your child’s current interests. Or a challenge: who can find out how to cover books without getting those pesky bubbles in the plastic?
Preparing packed lunches for the first time in two months? Well, that’s an opportunity to brainstorm new lunch ideas with your kids that they will really enjoy. For older kids, it might be giving them free reign on choosing their own lunches: 5 healthy things and 1 treat, or whatever nutritional guidelines you choose to employ.
Ultimately, enjoying the back-to-school period should be our aim. After all, helping your kids to find enjoyment in the things that they don’t automatically love is a crucial life skill!