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Continued from.... It's all happening!

Do we add to the hype by going on and on about it, by putting massive emphasis on that next step into which the child, or we as a family, are entering?

It is a change for everyone in the house, maybe even an actual stress, however mostly it’s just change, change we can easily enough get used to. But because we don’t like change, even good change, because we see it as a stress, we rebel.

No doubt some planning has to take place. Each step brings with it some new challenges and definitely some new logistical factors which have to be faced!

New drop off and collection times, new routes to drive, car pool, bus or walk are only one aspect of logistical changes that happen.

Or is that an excuse??

Are we making stress where there isn’t any?

You can certainly plan for the move, regardless of where the child is going – read on for some pointers you can easily put into place.

Either way, it’s best to keep ourselves in check. Plan calmly without causing hype.

I’ve done the different ‘first days’, now I’m at the college step. And this is my second time having a child starting college, my daughter started last year, however I’m not really sure if I feel better equipped this year – it’s a different city, college and child, a son!

Let me say at this point, without being stereotypical, but my daughter was super organised… my son, well, he’s not. Let’s leave it at that.

So, …it’s all in the planning.

Tips for starting school, National & Secondary;

•Have a supply of basic stationary at home and stock up more on stuff you know they will definitely need.

•Plan dinners ahead and keep them simple for the first couple weeks. I cook double for certain things and freeze them for those busy times.

•Provide lots of opportunity for outside time to help them be grounded.

•Allow plenty of play/chill time to let them work through their emotions of the day.

•Get the sleep routine going where you can. Obviously, this boat has sailed if you have teenagers, however you can still do your bit, by living by example.

•Pick your battles! An overload of tension has to come out somewhere, better at home than in school.

•Spend time with them doing simple things, to allow opportunity to talk. If you simply ask them how was your day, you will get very little real information. Go for a walk with the dog, get them to help with dinner or some other simple task – when the focus is not on them talking, then they’ll talk.

•Organise as much as you can the night before to help with the morning routine. And involve them in this; make lists, rotas, whatever helps.

Tips for college;

•Buy double toiletries, everything, so they don’t have to transport those back and forth.

•Sort towels. Use old ones, new ones don’t dry properly and they don’t need that hassle.

•Sheets including mattress protector, unless you have to wait to see the size of the bed in their accommodation, then hold off for now

•Buy some tuba wares, food containers of some sort, so they can easily transport meals & foods from home.

•Make a simple food plan; items they can bring, meals they can bring, meals they can easily cook themselves. Keep this part really simple or they will be overwhelmed and go to Supermacs!

•Have the laundry from the rest of the house done during the week, so that at weekends you/they can concentrate on laundry from college. (I had to buy a dryer after the first weekend – hadn’t had one, hadn’t needed one, since they were toddlers, no way was I causing me that stress of trying to dry stuff on the line and horse!

And as for you, you have to look after you, within all this. The best way you can do that is to keep things calm; focus on your own self-care routine, follow the tips above, keep yourself grounded by getting lots of outside time and take each day as it comes.

If it is the first time your child is entering that next phase, it is only natural to feel some apprehension, however we owe it to them and ourselves to keep it in check.

Stay realistic.

Avoid the ‘what-ifs’.

Keep focused on the positives.

Take each day and week at a time.

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