Sunday 18 March 2018

Amanda Brunker: Preparing your kids to go back to school isn't rocket science

Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin
Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin

Amanda Brunker

School is back and peace and normality has returned to your home… ah, if only that were true.

Sure, there will be a few disconcerting families that make the transition from holiday life to new school term blissfully, but the rest of us mere mortals are living in a crazy vortex of coping badly. Am I right?

We're tired, both youngsters and oldies. We're allergic to the alarm clock… remember that horrible noise you haven't heard since last June (unless you've been lucky enough to go on a foreign holiday that required you rise at some insane hour to catch a flight)? And we're currently all hyper-allergic to each other.

Yes, the return of school is an interesting time. After months of freedom, more occasional tipples for the parents than normal and often far too much sugar for the smallies, everyone is feeling a bit tetchy and highly strung. We're all annoying each other, basically, and life in general is more stressful.

The last few weeks of trying to organise babysitters or things to do with the kids have been exhausting, and even for the Mary Poppins-types, the struggle is real.

In essence, this next week (or two), we are all functioning 'under the influence'. Honestly, we are - and we need to be aware of the hazards.

Although you may have cut down on the sweet treats in the last couple of days, it can take a lot longer for the sugar to work its way through our kids system and for our sons and daughters to calm down. So please remember, we're all suffering withdrawals right now and this collective hangover needs to be handled with care… or at the very least, a little understanding.

Right now, most of us are struggling with the early starts. This is not life-or-death stuff, so there's no point in losing your mind if everyone doesn't comply with the morning rituals with military precision. Routines need to be learnt or re-learnt, so less shouting and more guiding may need to happen.

It's a total bitch for us - you might need to get up even earlier than normal to allow for the extra plámásing - but we are the parents and we did decide to have children, so the joke is on us. Deal with it… or 'suck it up' as my husband so often likes to tell me.

If your child hasn't returned to school yet, then you've got some extra time to prep. However, no matter how well you think you're organised, there will still be problems, so prepare yourself, mentally, for a messy shift.

Remember, give yourself extra time in the morning until you get back into the flow of things. If you normally get up at 7am, then get yourself up at 6.30am to allow for the drama of kids not getting up… not eating their breakfast… not getting dressed... not washing their teeth etc. Also, they might need to be accompanied through each tedious duty.

If you don't walk to the school then remember traffic will magic up out of thin air this week. If you don't want to have road rage, then leave earlier than you normally would.

It's not rocket science… it's hazard management. So stay safe, be kind to one another and remember: this back-to-school turning point is not worth stressing about. We'll all find our grove soon enough.


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