Candice Warner, media personality and former iron woman, knows all too well what back to school blues feel like for kids – and parents!
Her eldest daughter Ivy, six, started school last year and this year her second daughter, Indi, five, will begin kindergarten. Apart from getting school uniforms together and planning school lunches, Candice has also made sure that her girls are feeling confident with their core skills, such as reading and writing, in order to beat the back to school blues.
We asked asked her to share her advice!
Beating Uniform Blues
With Indi starting school for the first year, Candice tried to do what any responsible parent who cares about the planet would do – give her Ivy’s kindergarten garb to wear on the first day. We love the eco-friendliness of hand-me-down clothes, but as Candice learnt, it’s not always possible, as you simply can’t hurry nature.
“Indy is really excited and she can’t wait. We had a bit of a hiccup earlier though. She tried on her big sister’s uniform during the holidays and it was way too big for her! She hated it, so it threw her off. Sometimes with hand-me-downs we assume they’ll fit fine, but this didn’t! Now she’s got her own uniform she’s feeling special and looking forward to her big day.”
Beating Back To School Blues
At the time of writing, Candice’s eldest, Ivy, had already gone back-to-school and wasn’t showing any signs of back to school blues.
“She was so excited to cuddle all her friends again after the holidays. She was happy to see who was in her class and a bit disappointed to see who wasn’t, but that’s to be expected. She’s also really looking forward to being the big sister at school and taking Indi under her wing on her first day of school.”
However, Candice knows that many kids so suffer them. She can’t stress enough the importance of communicating with your kids about the feelings.
“I think it’s good to talk openly with your kids about their feelings about returning to school and be ready to answer any questions – especially when they are starting school for the first time. Just be really excited for them and listen. I tend to steer away from questions such as, “Are you scared? Are you nervous?” as I think it’s better to be upbeat. I prefer to ask, “Are you excited to meet new friends and your teacher?” I want them to look forward to the first day back.”
Candice’s School Bag Essentials!
It comes as no surprise that Candice is well prepared in the back-to-school bag packing stakes, which is a sure-fire way to beat the back to school blues.
“Apart from their lunchboxes and drink bottles, I always include clip on sunscreen on their bags. I also make sure everything is labelled. And importantly, I also pack a spare pair of underwear, just in case they get nervous and need to change their undies.
“As for their lunchboxes, there’s always a sandwich or a wrap, a couple of pieces fruit or veg such as apple and carrot, yoghurt, and some cheese and crackers. I also let them pick out a treat such as a packet of Tiny Teddies or small packet of chips.”
How Candice Creates Confidence
“I encourage my kids to read books. A few years ago the girls also started using an app called ABC Reading Eggs and have been doing it a lot in the holidays. It teaches reading skills such as phonics, through animated games and songs. They love it when they finish a game, and a character called Sam the Ant comes on. They’ll sing along with him and like the reward of extra games. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and that’s exciting for them. It gave me peace of mind that they were doing something educational whilst having fun and getting ahead with their reading skills so they could be prepared for learning in the classroom.”
How Candice Instils Her Healthy Routines
Candice plans ahead of the first day to help combat the back to school blues.
“I think getting kids into routines prior to going back after a long school break makes things easier. So, in the lead up we do things such as going to bed early, getting them used to their school shoes, getting going in the morning with breakfast, putting on uniforms, no mucking about, that kind of thing”
Dealing With Separation Anxiety And Tears
“If there are tears, let them know that’s normal. I’ve got a book about going back to school that I read to the girls. With Ivy last year, I packed something special in her pocket that made her feel safe and put a little teddy bear in her bag to make her feel secure. I’ll do the same with Indi and my youngest Isla, who’s 18 months, when it’s time for her to go to school as well.”
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