Summer and holidays are great, but back-to-school is also worth a party for children and even more… for parents. As a mother of three fidgety school-age boys, Elena reveals why she wants to celebrate the start of the school year.
After a few months of children’s holidays, I look at my three school-age sons and I can say with certainty – the start of the school year is good. Funny enough, just a few months ago I was passionately looking forward to the end of the school year.
Less virtual reality
So, let’s count. Firstly, for a large part of the holidays, I play the role of a scarecrow. I scare my children away from screens. I’ve tried various strategies and tactics: negotiating screen time, imposing restrictions on devices. We’ve come to the agreement that screen time should equal reading time each day. If they misbehave, I reduce the screen time. Sometimes we fall into serious conversations and devices disappear for a couple of days. All these efforts must be multiplied by 3 because there are three children of different ages in the house. That means different rules, and then you must manage their expectations – “It is not fair, why do I only have 1 hour of screen time, and he has 2?” The more time the children have, the more they need to be scared away from the screens. I dream of going from being a scarecrow to a beauty contestant on the first day of the school year.
Finally, some order at home!
Second. The more time the children spend at home, the more you start to believe that mythological, invisible creatures have taken up residence in the house, whose only aim is to make the house as messy as possible. Things are constantly moving. A ball of socks on the dining room table, a rattle on the bookshelf, Nerf bullets among cornflakes. Half a day at school and twice as tidy at home.
Everyone has something to do
Third. Fewer “I have nothing to do” complaints. I’m stoically trying to ignore this. But stoicism requires my effort and patience. By the way, a 17-year-old does not ask such a question; on the contrary, it’s me who’s constantly wondering how it is possible to be so idle.
Discipline and routine frees from overthinking
Fourth. I miss the routine. Going to bed on time, a clear agenda for the children. The teenager’s sleeping until noon has become annoying and disturbing. There is a time for a walk and there is a time to go from point A to point B. Discipline helps us to overcome the distances in our daily life. Psychologist S. Alexander argues that, at first sight, a person who follows a daily routine can be described as rigid and unimaginative. On the contrary, research shows that routine frees us from overthinking, improves mental health, and can stimulate creativity.
So, cheers to the start of the school year!
And how will you celebrate the start of the school?
My tradition is to take a picture of a son standing in front of the house with gladiolus flowers on the first day of the school year. It’s fun for children to explore how each one has changed over the year. They remember exactly how they felt that day!
Sometimes it’s a trip to the countryside with friends’ families, where the children blow soap bubbles, kick a ball, and have a picnic on the grass. Small gifts can also be part of the celebration. I often choose sweets, a book, or a board game. For example, Imaginator Cards are perfect for older school-age children and students; it was a great discovery as it’s complicated to find something suitable for them.
To me personally, the start of the school year is even brighter than the start of the New Year. And I love to celebrate bright beginnings!