What would happen if you started with a definite mindset about what you would do and will not do?
This year I set the challenge to my three sons to make a list of what they really needed for school by looking at their school resource list for their upcoming class.
Immediately they printed and wrote a long list of things and we went to the shops and for the first time, I got to stand on the side and almost say, “Are you done yet? ” As they whizzed up and down the aisles trying to find the right paper and folders. It’s a challenging time but only a part of the great back to school activities.
Getting ahead of the back to school activities gives us a peaceful start. Creating routines and systems take time and probably it’s not the best idea to change everything at the start of school. Instead, talk about the flexibility of these first few weeks as we all settle into routines. Some of the routines are new and testing and many cosy and familiar- whatever the routine just letting the children know that we are working on finding something that fits for us as a family and for ourselves helps take the edge of perfect.
As your area starts the back to school season you’ll become deluged with offers and ideas. As parents, we hold the spaces for our children to dwell on whether we decide or things just happen. We set the tone for the school year.
Here are 5 things to consider for our families in the back to school season and beyond that start with mindset and trickle down harmony, calm and unity.
1. Rotate new contributions
As they get older they need to experience different chores or contributions. It’s easy to set and forget contributions and children get stuck doing the same contribution for years.
Gender contributions happen in many families sometimes because we don’t notice that the girls are washing dishes and the boys taking out the trash. They all need to do all these basic types of contributions and at least know how they are done. Is it time for a change?
2. Start with agreements
“If only they helped me more!”
Often children are oblivious to what needs doing. Proximity doesn’t indicate noticing and understanding. We do it so well. We need to teach and show, often. When you have a family conversation about how they can help or even what is a help ( this is your house too- maybe we need to talk more about the language) then… solutions happen. They aren’t helping you. They are helping the family and everyone benefits.
3. Graduate to new chores and contributions
What are some new life skills and contributions they might master this year?
Are they ready to wash a laundry load of clothes? they might start with the towels and sheets or jump straight to their laundry basket. Maybe they’ll bike to school?
Will they make their own lunch or set out their own clothes and bags?
Will they make their own plan for what they do in the morning or when they come back from school?
With age and stage comes responsibility. It’s things like coming home from the neighbour’s house on time that help you earn the gifts that come later. Often our children don’t understand the responsibility part and focus too much on their rights. It’s up to us to share this process better.
4. Family media plan
Technology can’t lead us by the nose. We have to have our family ideas. Granted these will shift and alter during the year and as things come up but we need to continue the many conversations around media use in our homes, at school and everywhere.
Conversations and time help unite a family who are pulling in multiple directions. Whether it is one down day or night a week, meal times, carpool or group texting we pull together when there’s a common theme.
As you get ready for the new school term, here’s a handy list of seven things to consider that support our families just by our mindset.
Acting on our Parenting mindset
More back to school conversations
Back to School: Family Values for the Month
Back to School: Figuring out the Family Media Plan
Being ready to support through the new school term
Raising Playful Tots show 36: Waldorf Education with Janni Nicol
Raising Playful Tots show 37: Back to school
106: 7 Ways to Raise Responsible Tots