Are you sick of hearing ‘are we there yet?’ Or the constant nag on a car trip because someone is bored. In this article, you’ll find 4 ways to make your next car trip an enjoyable, easy and educational experience for your little person (whilst also saving your sanity).
Let's face it.... there are going to be tears!
I am not talking about those little ones that gather in the corner of your eye and that you brush off to the side of your cheek. I am talking about a full capitulation of head on steering wheel, face full of mascara and searching for cake, type of tears.
Some ways to avoid this, however, is to plan!
1) Be organised. Have all school gear out the night before reading for in the morning.
2) Add an extra 15 minutes to your time plan. Someone is bound to forget something, lose something or spill something.
3) Take photos at home before your child leaves for school. The emotions of first day blues might make the camera less of a priority once they are in the classroom and the hustle and bustle begins.
4) Write a 'love note' for your child's lunch box like, "I love you and I cannot wait to hear all about your day. Make sure you listen to the teacher xox Mum and/or Dad". While you are at it... write a love note for yourself! Something like... "I am okay. They/he/she is okay. We are okay. Be gentle with yourself."
5) Plan activities for your day if you are not working. Nothing is worse than watching the clock!
6) Decide from Day 1 how you want your school routine to look. I remember when I was young, mum had an afternoon routine of come home, school shoes at the door, have a bath or shower, school work and snack followed by play or TV. I think in hindsight, she made us have the shower early that way we wouldn't go play in the dirt in the afternoon. However this helped because she could get the washing on ASAP if need be.
7) Invest in some self-care. Plan a rewarding activity for yourself. Parenting is not easy, and letting go... well, that is like an emotional cyclone. Remember, you can't help others if you can't help yourself. You heard me!
8) Tell people you work with that it is your child's first day at school and your emotions might be a little off. Come on, you should prepare them!
9) Buy some party poppers. When you and your child are in your car, pop some party poppers together. Come on, you know you want to be the 'fun parent'.
10) Listen to your child when they tell you how their day was. Be fully present, i.e. stop what you are doing, look at your child and listen, even lowering your body so your eyes meet at the same level whilst you are talking. You want them to know that you care (which of course, you do) and that the time spent talking and sharing their day is a time when mum and/or dad have their full attention. If they know this they will probably be likely to want to invest in this behaviour of sharing because it gets them what they want, and that is you.
Do you have any tips that you could add to the list? We would love to hear from you!
1. Create a physical space
This space should be a place in your home where you can connect with your child. An ideal space should have no visual distractions like a TV nearby that is on, or be in your main living area where the family gathers. You need to have physical space for you both to be able to sit down together comfortably, either on chairs or on the floor. In the space have it equipped with simple stationary, pencils, etc so that you do not need to leave the area more than required, as this can cause a loss of focus off the task, and distractions quickly tend to creep in.
2. Create space in time
If you cannot stick to a set time each day then when you are going to work with your child, announce that we are going to have some Get Ready For School time, also, tell them when this learning time will finish.
How you value and place importance on the learning time that you have together, will impact your child. Research strongly suggests parental attitudes towards learning and education are transferable. It is important therefore, to hold and or develop the belief that learning is important and the time spent on learning at home is important.
If we start this conversation early, then things like homework and assignments will be less cumbersome when the child starts school.
3. Create a space on the wall
On the wall you could:
• Display photos of your child learning during this time
• Place their best work on the wall
• Display their Early Learning Chart on the wall
• If you prefer this not go on a ‘wall’, consider a pin board or a scrapbook
• Ideally you would want this wall close to the working space that you have set up
We are our children's first teachers and advocates.
So many times we wonder what else is there that we could be doing to support our own child's growth and development and the truth is being present is key. We have to take time to listen to them, observe them, and celebrate their growth.
The following link is an address by Dr. Adam Fraser who wrote the book The Third Space. His research is on transitioning from work to home, and how to be able to, in a way, let the day go, so that you can turn up and be present for your family.
I love this video. Not just because it is entertaining (he is a great speaker), but he really speaks from the heart and provides simple steps to support this transition to being a present parent, and also being present in the workplace.
We all want time with our families, but it is our quality time that our children crave the most. I encourage you to take some time to view his video titled: Three simple steps to not take a bad day home.
Please take time to watch the video. It is a game changer.