It is almost September so the children are almost back at school. Have you bought their essentials yet? Did you check out my guide of things you may need or like to buy? There are other things to think of though at this time of year and that’s the health and happiness of the children. These are not always things money can buy. Here are some pointers you may not have thought of.
Kids grow up so fast don’t they and there is so much to think about from packed lunches or school dinners to what kind of pencil case they want. There is a list of school essentials they need and you spend all summer thinking about getting the right colour shoes, the uniform with the logo on and PE kits. These things are all quite straight forward aren’t they? How do you ensure your teen or tween is ready for school mentally and is healthy? These tips may help.
Do you know for sure your child doesn’t need glasses? It is so easy to not notice they need them if they appear to be coping and can see okay but you may be surprised. In the UK it is free to have children’s eyes tested and if they need glasses they are free too. There are so many to chose from at the opticians but if you want something specific you can always buy frames elsewhere such as Fairy Specs and then get the lenses done by your optician. The below photo is my gorgeous niece with her Fairy Specs.
Happiness and sharing their feelings
This is an area you do not necessarily prepare for every summer when your child or teenager goes back to school. So many young people have issues with anxiety and find aspects of school hard. These difficulties can come at any time so it is worth establishing a routine with your child of regularly talking about their emotions and their day. If this proves difficult one thing that can help them to communicate is using colours rather than words. A traffic light system of how they feel, their day to day emotions. You can also help your child’s anxiety, self-confidence and negative attitude by getting them some 1-1 personal coaching which can help equip them with the mindset they need for school. If you have concerns don’t be afraid to seek help from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent mental health service) who you can be referred to usually by your family doctor or the school. I wish there was a service like this when I was younger and I had been open about my feelings. My mental health problems started when I was about 12 in hindsight, so I love that these services now exist.
Hydration and Healthy Eating
Try and start as you mean to go on with healthy snacks for school and after school. Can you swap fizzy drinks for water or squash? You are the parent and you know this will help your youngster to concentrate more at school, to be healthier and in the long term this is worth it.
If you worry about your child’s weight then have you read my post with suggestions from my experiences as to how to approach this. I was concerned for Ben’s weight a couple of years ago and found different approaches to be most effective. Here are my tips as to how to approach your child’s weight and help them reach a healthy weight.
Has your child now reached the age they will walk to school on their own? Maybe you are wondering whether they need a mobile phone but worry about their safety? Have you considered a contract that enables them to always be able to ring home? I reviewed Parent Shield from Engine Mobile which has this if this is something you think will help.
Have you broached the subject of their sexual safety? Whilst it is hard accepting your child is growing up maybe you need to talk about contraception and what you find acceptable in your house etc? For younger children have you checked out The Underwear Rule from the NSPCC? This teaches children which parts of their body should never be touched by anyone else. A great way of broaching the subjects of sexual abuse and ensuring that your youngster is as well equipped as possible for any eventuality. Consent is another really important subject to cover if you haven’t already with older children. This can be brought in within a conversation about bullying and about being themselves and not being pressured into anything.
Bullying and making friends
Before your teen or tween goes back to school have you chatted with them about what to do if they are being bullied or if they know someone else is? This is a topic worth refreshing every year as you just never know who could become a victim and when. Have you thought about it at the other extreme of your child being a potential bully? It isn’t a nice thought is it but it is something to think about. A simple chat with your child about differences in others and how a personality is more important could make all the difference. No one should ever be bullied because of their sexual orientation, race, religion, disability, or for any other reason. Perhaps chatting to your child will help with this.
A blogging friend of mine, Charlie, has a son with a facial disfigurement and blogs about it here if you fancy a read maybe with your child. If you are a teacher and feel a chat about this could help your pupils then her charity may be perfect for you. More than a Face helps children and teenagers see that there is more to a person than the way they look.
It isn’t easy making friends for us parents either! If you are suddenly finding you have free time and want to make some friends for yourself but find it difficult approaching other mums just remember they are in the same position too. Just smile and say hello then maybe suggest a coffee. I know you can do it, if I can anyone can! Many schools will have parent groups you could join or wait until parents evenings or Christmas events and try to chat to parents then.