This is the fifth in the series of blogs Bethanie at Northumberland Family Diaries and I are writing this summer.  We’ve called it the Sunday Sanctuary Series.  This week, I’m talking a little about my thought on the impending ‘back to school’ dread… or is it?

The intent behind the blogs is to ensure we get some time to spend with our second love (writing) over the summer… (our first being our family of course!)  You can join in by following us on instagram if you fancy…?

So, this week it’s all about school, the school day, the school run, the school prep, the school yard…  if you have children or are involved in anyway in the ebb and flow of school term time this blog may be right up your street…I hope it’s as reassuring to you as it was to me writing it.


What is term time and why do we need it anyway?

Term time is the time in-between holiday time in the UK.  It’s a structure in which little people go to a big building to learn things mostly from adults but also from their peers.  Term time means routine for them and for us too.  One thing I’ve learnt is that when you have a little one (which for us it is just one) routine becomes more important than it might have been before.

Pleasing pencils in a box Pleasing Pencils (c) Rich Kenworthy

Now we are into the last week of the summer holidays with just two bonus days to go I am honestly feeling physically sick about the start of the new term.  Summer has been an absolute blast and I’ve loved my slower days, adventure times and having a right good giggle with my son.

To help me get my head back into it, here are some notes I’ve written based on last year’s experience to help me feel calm and in acceptance of the Autumn shift.

Five ways to cope and feel calm as you head into a new term

  1. Talk to your little one – a lot!   I’ve started talking to our son already about the return to school.  What will be different, what will be the same, who he is excited about seeing.  He has some new trainers for PE that light up and he’s excited about that.  He also really likes the school cook and her dinners, scratch that – pudding so we’ve chatted a bit about that too.  He’s seen a couple of pals over the hols and I hope we’ll squeeze in another playdate too.
  2. Find some friends – it’s REALLY hard to make friends as a grown up – you have your friends already right?  You like them, they like you, they know you – it’s easy.  You don’t need any more?  But here’s the thing… there is so much nuanced stuff to talk about and understand each individual school.  There will be lots of minutes stood waiting for your child to come out and it makes it so much easier if you chat to other parents and get to know them a little.  Don’t worry about the cliques – everyone is just trying to get through it I reckon!
  3. Find or remember your morning routine – I actually wrote out our morning movements last year and stuck to them because we like to be early not late… so it goes something like this…  7am – alarm (L waking me up) although once a week I get up before him to have some time.  7.10am Coffee and let the chickens out, playtime. 7.30am – Breakfast/ shower for me.  7.45am – Uniform on.  8am – clean teeth/ pack school bag. 8.15 – decide what coat/ shoes/ toys to take.  8.20am – get in car and chat on the way to school.   We always get a car parking space and time to chat a bit before L has to go in for the day.
  4. Don’t worry about homework but make sure you write down dates – Homework makes L miserable, he’s just turned 5 so half way through the year last year I just stopped doing it.  (After some encouragement from some friends with older kids).  If you get a list of dates write them down and try to get time off work.
  5.  Be SUPER kind to yourself and everyone else – School is hard for little ones and it might be for you too.  There were tears from all three of of us last year and lots of kindness from teachers and other parents thank goodness.  Thank you cards and special thanks in person go along way.  Teachers are incredible  – their hours are long and there is a lot of stress placed upon them.  Feeling appreciated literally makes their day.

School experiences are different for everyone but we’ll all in it together.

I’m rooting for you.


PS – if you need more of this stuff my lovely pal Lou at The Calm Folk has written a little back to school transition booklet you can read here. 

Don’t forget to pop on over and read Bethanie’s blog too.