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What’s wrong with this picture?  NOTHING at all.  But it did get you worrying didn’t it?

Let’s face it – there’s a lot of stuff going on once you have children at school and if you let yourself, there’s a lot to worry about.

Lots of us have more than one child and many of us have started back to work (either full or part time). There’s after school activities, class get togethers and the birthday party invitations start to ramp up.

I now have 3 kids at school and have had at least one child at school for 9 years so I feel I’m in a position to look back and realise I’ve made a lot of mistakes. At least I’m not alone – so many of my mum friends feel exactly the same as me.

Here’s my list of the 5 biggest mistakes parents make once their kids at school

1. Being disorganised at home

If you (and therefore your child) is disorganised at home, there is a fair chance that they’ll be disorganised at school too. Believe me, I’ve had times where I’ve fallen off the organised wagon and everything goes to hell. The kids start getting ratty, I become more stressed and even hubby starts chiming in with his two cents worth!

Try and help your children understand how to get organised. My kids each have a big draw in the laundry (you could use a basket, a trug or a box) so that the minute they walk in the door, they take out their homework, notes and lunchboxes and then put their bags and hats into their draw. Later that afternoon or night we put anything that needs to go to school the next day (like permission slips or projects) into their draw so it’s ready for the morning.

Knowing what’s coming up is super important too …

Knowing what’s coming up is super important too – pin up a calendar, a noticeboard or a whiteboard and the minute you find out about something, get it onto the calendar. We have a calendar inside our pantry door and underneath that I have stuck a plastic sleeve – if there’s an athletics carnival, we just write that on the calendar but we know that all the details will be on the note in the plastic sleeve right next to the calendar. Even the kids write on the calendar and put the notes up there themselves now.

2. Not making time to really connect with your kids

Studies show that you spending just 10 minutes of undivided attention each day is all your kids need to feel connected to you. Before you check emails, messages, read the mail or start organising dinner – give your child some of your time.

We have a routine 3 days a week where we sit at the kitchen bench and have afternoon tea. We talk about the day and what’s coming up, homework and projects that need to be done. As much as I know there are emails piling up and my phone is ringing, I ignore them for 30 minutes – which gives each child 10 minutes.

3. Not understanding the importance of good food

Kids need good food to ensure that their minds and bodies work properly. I’m forever telling my kids that they need good fuel to learn, to play and to grow! I do as much as I can to ensure we have a well balanced breakfast and dinner at home and then encourage the kids to get involved in packing their lunches.

They get to choose a piece of fruit and a vegetable (cucumber, carrot or tomato/cherry tomatoes) and they get to choose something from the ‘snack box’ for morning tea.

Again, it’s easy when you’re busy to fall back on all those little individual packs for lunches and opt for basic spreads with bread but there’s not a lot of goodness in any of those.

If you’re super busy, think about offering the kids a tin of baked beans (low fat, low GI, high fibre) instead. My kids love these – the older kids just take the can and the younger kids have their baked beans in a little Tupperware container so they’re not confronted with the can to open.

And most importantly don’t beat yourself up – if you and the kids can eat really well 85% of the time, you’re doing an amazing job. No one is perfect and if you have one bad day, just be good the next!

4. Not giving kids enough down time to relax

This one goes hand in hand with no. 2 (Making time to connect with your kids) … So many times I’ve allowed myself to get caught up in all the activities everyone else’s kids are doing. And my kids get invited by friends to join this team or that team, come to this activity, do that lesson (after all, it’s only an hour a week) …

Suddenly you add it all up and every child is doing something 5 times across the whole week (weekends included) and it’s out of control. You’re running yourself ragged, the kids are tired and cranky, you’re spending a fortune and the kids never get a moment to relax, catch up and God forbid, be bored!

Obviously every family is different but you need to find a schedule that works for you and your kids … and allows them to stay fit but also recharge, refresh and operate effectively within the family.

5. Taking control of homework!

If you’re anything like me (yes I’ll admit I’m a bit of a perfectionist and a slight LOL control freak) homework sets your teeth on edge and unless your child is highly out of the ordinary, their homework will probably be quite messy with lots of crossing out, crooked cutting and dog-eared pages.

As Princess Elsa from Frozen says “LET IT GO”.

Yes you need to step away from the desk and let your kids work their way through their homework, their projects, their ‘talk time’ topics and their Maths Mentals on their own.

The only way a teacher can determine what your child knows is by receiving work that is truly theirs. By all means, encourage, support and show your child how to answer homework questions, but don’t do the work for him! Doing homework by themselves will help your children learn to be responsible for the quality of their work.

I now make a start on dinner at the kitchen bench and the kids sit at the dining room table – close enough to ask questions but far enough away for me to not be watching every move their make!

There are of course many more things I could add to this list, but these are the biggies that every mum I talk to seems to bring up. And as I said, we often slip off the wagon and life starts to unravel but that’s OK. Just pick yourself up and get back to basics.

What mistakes have you made with your school kids? Tell us in the comments below.

 

  • I love number two the most.
    It’s definitely so important to spend quality time as before you know it, they’ll be all grown up and won’t want a bar of you!
    I try and take as much time as I can to play with my kids and teach them stuff while playing.
    These are all good points, thank you for sharing.
    I’ll definitely be bookmarking this for future reference.

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  • A really good read.

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  • Mistakes show that we care

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  • Such a good read with so many good points. I’ve got 2 at school, 1 at Kindy & 1 at home. Life is super busy so I try to be as organized as possible.

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  • It all gets so busy once school starts with all activities definitely organisational skills are the most important

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  • Being organised with using a calendar really helped me. I wrote down every activity, including play dates, birthdays parties etc
    I also realised the kids needed dedicated one on one time.

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  • Disorganised and good food and time to relax are mistakes I make. I’m trying my best this year with year 2 and year 5 to have it be a smarter year.

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  • I have all of this ahead of me still.

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  • Organisation is everything

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  • My boys had a routine of coming home, getting changed, putting lunch boxes and drink containers on the sink, having a snack if they were a bit hungry, doing any homework they had and then they could go out to play with friends. When they got home by a certain time they would have a bath and then it was dinner time. After they could watch television or we’d play a board game before it was time for bed. This worked for us until they became teenagers then anything could happen. My mistake was allowing them to change this around to suit themselves.

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  • We learnt very quickly that our son needs his sleep. So we constantly fought about his bedtime vs all of his friends. But we stayed strong. We also realised our son needed downtime when he got home — that lying on the couch watching TV was good for him. We overscheduled initially, and then really pulled back to one sport once he started Year 7. We also realised that he needs food and lots of it. I learnt to have food on the bench, ready and available when he got home from school. Every year and age introduced something new, so it was a constant learning process.

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  • I already know i am doing most these things.It is parent dream to see their child is perfect.

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  • Organsised times is what I need

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  • As long as my kids DO their homework, I don’t care how it looks.

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  • Being organised is definitely a big one for my household! We definitely feel the stress when things aren’t in order

    Reply

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