Back To School: Stress management tips | 28 August 2020
With a new school term starting next week, challenging times are ahead for many parents and their children. We all know though that a bit of planning can go a long way in helping us to manage these times, as well as stress levels.
It’s always good as well for parents to see that they are not alone with back-to-school struggles and to learn how other parents are coping.
In an interview with the Seychelles NATION, Shamita Palit shared with us her top five tips for managing her six-year-old son’s school life.
Shamita says that she and her partner Jeanluc have a busy household and quite a few pets, very often rescue and re-home pets. This, she explains, is how their pet shop ‘Happy Paws’ started in December as a small side project.
Aside from this, she feels that she is not such an organised mother and like most parents, she can relate to the challenges that come with keeping her son, John, safe and healthy, rearranging their days around work, school, activities, homework, waking him up in the morning for school, and her biggest stress being the morning traffic.
Ahead of the coming new school term, she feels however that preparations for school are more under control.
“Perhaps it is the period we have gone through in the last few months,” she says. “It has forced us to realign, rethink, better plan, to be more versatile, more creative, not only in our work but at home as well.”
Below, Shamita shares with other parents, her top five tips for easing back-to-school stress.
1. Sort out important logistics ahead of time
Ahead of school starting, I have already sorted out things like my son’s uniforms, school bags, bottles and meal boxes. This helps prevent me from doing these things in a last-minute rush, so it is less stressful as you often have to search a few shops to find what you want or need.
2. Have a school meal plan in place
I am also working on a weekly plan for his school meals as I do both tea break boxes (tiffin) and lunch for my boy. Schools are very strict with kids’ food and this helps me save time on school mornings when I would otherwise be sourcing out ingredients to put in the box.
My son may eat something before school but rarely. For his tea break (goute) he has either a sandwich, cereal, pancakes, banana cake or muffin if we have some baked, and fresh fruits. For lunch it is things like sandwiches, fried rice, pasta and a box of fruits or carrot and cucumber sticks. These are healthy and easy to make fresh in the morning.
3. Design a personal calendar for yourself
My calendar is adapted around school timings. Luckily, my work is flexible as I can work on-the-go and at home, so I can work around his schedule as well as long as I have my internet dongle and laptop.
However, other than that any of my own appointments are during school time. I try to get as much work as possible done before school ends. I tend to keep any administrative work which can be done from my laptop for later at home if I can’t manage to finish. This way I can focus on him when he finishes school.
I have to say that Jeanluc can stand in and step in for anything at home or work which is great! There are some aspects for which we can’t step in for each other, for example I can’t step in for him as a photographer, but we work together around things that we collectively need to manage for John, home and work. For example, Jeanluc cooks and cleans when I have a lot of administrative work to handle from home.
4. Create a ‘work’ space at home for your child
My son is moving to the ‘big boy’ class soon so I am currently rearranging a space at home for him to do his homework. He has a hard time sitting still and focusing for long periods of time. He is an outdoor and active person, so it’s important to create a space for him, away from distractions.
5. Get your child involved in after-school activities
I am looking at after-school activities at least once or twice a week for John, ideally in sports. I am still uncertain with the ‘new normal’ which activities will be permissible and deemed safe. John is a very active child and has a lot of energy, so he needs a good outlet to burn that energy through activities. He is also very curious and needs his mind to be kept active, not necessarily only through school work but also through a little ‘life learning’. For example, he loves gardening where he also learns about the importance of plants, the different parts of plants, colour shades, shapes and counting.
We will combine these activities with our own after-school activities such as fishing, which he loves, but balanced with days that he does not have homework. We will need to let him start school to be able to get into a proper routine and then adapt around this.