Back to School – Tips For Parents
You will probably know already that several of the MyLiferaft team are parents and like you, are spending the last few weeks of the precious summer holidays having their children’s feet measured for new school shoes, hunting down that elusive last piece of uniform and hurriedly filling pencil cases and rucksacks!
Starting school for the first time, moving into a new class, transitioning from primary school to secondary, or secondary school to higher education, is a scary and stressful time for parents and children alike. Will they find new friends? How will they react to new environments and new levels of authority?
In the MyLiferaft team, our children are all at different stages within the education system, but we still sit over a cup of coffee having the same worries! All these worries can be multiplied if your child has special educational needs (SEN) or a long-term condition. As parents we want to support them the best way we can and the team here recognise that, so we’ve put together a list of our favourite Top Tips that have helped us and many others along the way. We cannot promise that you won’t need extra tissues on that first day, but hopefully a few of these tips will mean less of those tissues!
- Make a big deal out of buying a new lunch box and water bottle. Whether it be pink, blue or has extra sparkles, if it is dishwasher proof, go with the flow.
- Are you able to get your child involved in making the packed lunch the night before so they won’t be shocked or surprised the following day? This will head off any lunchtime traumas and hopefully they will come home with a full tummy and an empty lunch box.
- Remember to pack the homework the night before or immediately before you walk out of the door if the homework is done in the morning. You do not want to go to all that effort and then leave it at home.
- Work out how much time the whole family needs in the morning. Do you and your partner need to get through the bathroom first? Work backwards from the time you need to be in the car on the way to school allowing 20 minutes each for getting changed/teeth brushing etc. and then eating breakfast. Then add another 10 minutes for back-up time in case someone is a little behind that morning.
- If the new school requires a new journey by either car or bus, this could cause stress to all involved in the school run, so try and do a couple of ‘dummy runs’ in the weeks leading up to the first day to alleviate any negative feelings.
- For children with special educational needs, the school may be able to arrange a visit for you and your child before the start date so that new classrooms etc. have a familiar feel when your child officially starts and you can note any need for specialist equipment or aids.
- Even if you take your child into the playground in the mornings, going those final few metres on their own can be daunting. If you know of another child (or parent!) who is also worried, agree to meet up a few minutes early so that the two children can walk in together. So far, one of our children has been walking in with the same friend for two years!
- Your child’s age will direct you to how much sleep they need a night, but those first few weeks at school may mean a slightly earlier bedtime whilst your child gets used to a new school routine.
- If you have any additional needs or a long-term condition, talk to the university disability advisers and have a student support plan in place. It’s important to make the university aware of your condition – they will suggest ways they can help.
- Email each of your lecturers personally, explaining in your own words how your condition may affect their classes and what they can do to help.
At MyLiferaft, we aim to give you everything you need in once place and this includes where to go for advice, information and support. Our extensive list of resources has a specific section for going Back To School giving ideas and details of organisations to help with activities for all weathers! We also have links through to organisations that support Parent Carers, Learning Disabilities, Accessibility, Bullying, Going Back to School, Bereavement, Mental Health, Autism, Epilepsy, School Holiday ideas, Benefit information and various NHS information websites.
You can also be part of the MyLiferaft community and receive our regular newsletter which gives you up-to-date information on health, care & well-being. Sign-up here to join our ever growing network!
MyLiferaft is a free resource which gives a parent of a disabled child, and those who care for them, one central online place where they can add, manage and share information about health, care and well-being. Using MyLiferaft reduces the need for repetition and explanation every time someone new comes in to the care circle, helps improve consistency and is truly centered around the person and their needs.
Other benefits of MyLiferaft include:
- Telling members of your child’s care circle best way to interact you’re your child to reduce levels of stress
- Let others know how to support you and your child i.e. what are their likes and dislikes
- Set reminders so you worry less about forgetting appointments or your child taking their medication
- Try keeping track of your child’s mood so you can spot trends
- Keep a record of what works well for you and your child and what doesn’t, so you can pass this on to others within the care circle
- Set yourself and your child some goals and track how you are getting on with achieving them
- Share your goals with others so they can help you reach them
- Keep a record of meetings/consultations you have with professionals and write down what was discussed so you can refer back to it at any time or share it with others in your child’s care circle
- Share information with others e.g. doctors, family friends, social workers, therapists, teachers etc
Try our Free Account now to discover the many ways in which MyLiferaft can help