Starting school is such an emotional time. From the anxiousness about teachers and classmates and fears of not fitting in, to the excitement of a new adventure and the pride that comes with entering a new phase of life, the first few weeks can be quite the rollercoaster.
It can also be quite a busy and stressful time as the whole household settles into a new routine. This is particularly true if you’ve recently welcomed a new addition to the family and need to juggle the preparation of a new student with the rhythms of a newborn. It doesn’t need to be, though!
Here are our top tips for surviving starting school with a new baby in the house.
Start getting ready the night before
Mornings can be a mad scramble, as you try to get everyone up, fed, clothed, packed, and out the door in time for the school day. To help keep this To-Do List short, try knocking over some activities in the evening. Things like making lunches, laying out uniforms, and packing bags can all be done ahead of time.
And don’t forget about yourself! Planning your outfit ahead of time means one less decision to make in the morning. We recommend leaning into the basics (like jeans and a simple tee) to give you an effortlessly stylish look, no matter what your mood.
Enlist a little helper
Starting school is a major milestone, and most kids warmly embrace the feelings of maturity and ‘adulthood’ that come with it. Another big part of being a ‘big boy/girl’ is being able to look after yourself, so encouraging your child to take responsibility for getting themselves ready in the morning can make them feel even more special.
To help keep them on track, write out a checklist of the activities they need to do each morning. You can also add a personal touch to this by getting them to draw instructions for each step of their morning routine.
Don’t be afraid to lean on your new community
One of the upsides of your eldest starting school is the new community it opens up for you. Over time, you will begin to build bonds with other parents – and it’s likely that many will live in your neighbourhood. In fact, odds are that some of them will be in the same boat as you, trying to manage the start of school and the routines of younger siblings.
As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and you shouldn’t be scared to ask other members of your school community for help. Whether it’s having your little one walk to school with them when your other child invariably comes down with something or picking your child up when you’re running late one afternoon, other parents will understand what you’re going through and be more than happy to lend a hand.
Afternoon snacks and stories
After a big day of learning, your little student will be ravenous. Help keep their appetite – and mood! – in check by pre-preparing a snack for when they get home. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just something to keep their energy up and hold them over until dinner.
Afternoon snack time is also a great opportunity to catch up with your child about their day. While you might initially get a limited response (“I can’t remember” or “I don’t know"), encouraging them to think about what happened at school will not only help you be part of their world but can also reinforce the new information they learnt.