It’s end of September and memories of the Summer holiday seem already to fade. It’s back to school, new term, settling in, lots of homework and everything that goes with it.
It’s a big transition, especially for the 4 year old starting reception, and their parents. Will they get friends? Listen to their teacher? And eat all their lunch? It’s as much worrying as it’s exciting. Especially to the parents.
By the end of the day, the only way to support your child is through ensuring a good nights sleep, that they get dressed in the morning, a reasonably healthy breakfast, get your child on time to school. Then pick them up at the end of the day, make dinner and then provide time and space for homework. It’s doomed to occasionally fail, but hopefully not all at once.
We have developed a strategy to battle the long school days and never ending homework, to keep up the motivation for both parents and children. We’ve found it to be really straight forward -and to our family, fairly successful.
Try to have everything ready before you go to bed, the school uniform, school bag, money for the school trip etc., to avoid last minute stress in the morning. Then after a good night sleep, we start the day early with lots of time for a family breakfast. Typical Scandinavian breakfast with sourdough bread with cheeses, a glass of milk or juice. Occasionally boiled egg.
After school we have a family dinner, everything from vegetable stew to swedish meatballs. Something homemade from fresh ingredients. Food is energy. Then after refuelling with energy the kitchen table will be transformed to a homework station.
The children will need to to the homework without help but with lots of encouragement. I once helped Little B with completing a drawing in Reception. When her teacher praised her work Little B didn’t want to take all the credit herself and said: “Mummy did it!”…
A day a week we would walk by our local library. Do research for school projects or just sink into a beanbag with a favourite book. And bring it home if it wasn’t finished before we would have to leave. We’ve also found the library as an excellent place to find out what’s going on in our local community.
Then, to create some variety in the week, we do a “weekly outing”. Because we need to break away from the routine. Once a week, usually on a Friday we would go straight from school and head out in London. Discover our own city, explore the many villages, museums or exhibitions there are. See a film or go to the theatre. Or it could be as simple as just to visit another area, hang out at a local cafe, that’s new to us.
Then another week has gone by, survived that too, and then there’s the weekend to recover. What’s your strategy, how do you survive the schoolrun, the homework battle and keeping your school child (and yourself) motivated and on top of things?