THE FIRST SCHOOL TERM FATIGUE
Transitioning to school for a young child can be a difficult one. Not only for the child but parent alike. It can create anxiety for both parties. How can we lessen this and make our transition smooth?
1. Lots of preschools and daycare centres do offer a School Readiness program. This includes trips to your local school and talks from community members leading up to the school year commencing. This allows a slow shift into something new and exciting and is beneficial for both child and parent in preparing for the school year ahead.
2. Talk with your child about big school and explain the routine. Even go past or ask for a tour of the school your child will be going to. Preparation is key.
3. Use a lunchbox for daily meals. Get your child involved in being able to unwrap the contents of the box. Explain when to eat what foods. Practice mealtimes at home which would be like school breaks. Children gain comfort from knowing what to expect.
4. Routine is key to the smooth running of the household. Start setting an alarm allowing yourself some time to get ready in the mornings. Maybe get the uniform out the night before or even have a school locker or shelf to have all school things ready. Print out a copy of the child’s school routine so they can see what’s on for the week. Include PE Days, News Days and Library Days and get your child involved in the preparation of their school bag.
5. As the child commences the school term, they may be quite exhausted. Allowing for this, an early bedtime should be adopted. Some children will fall asleep within a few minutes of getting home. A short nap is ok. Then try moving to a bedtime around 6.30-7.30pm. This allows the child’s body to rest and recover and you as the parent to have some time to prepare for the next day.
6. Set time for play, afternoon tea and homework. This helps the child routine themselves and become more independent.
7. As life is busy and time is precious, always remember that 5-10mins of quality time with your children is worth more to them than an hour chatting whilst preparing for dinner. Knowing they have Mum’s full attention for a short time increases the quality of communication between you.
8. If we get it right 30% of the time we are doing an awesome job. Take time for yourself within your day. This allows you to be the best parent you can be – you’ve got this, Mumma!
It can be a huge shock when you come home with your newborn. A baby that has slept for the first few weeks has suddenly become unsettled, very unsettled. You then have that moment of realisation and say to yourself, “Hold on they didn’t give me a manual!”
So we go looking for advice. Picking up baby books and searching the internet. You join a few social media groups looking for support and information. There’s a lot out there and confusingly half of it seems to contradict the other half.
This scenario is a common one, a challenge for many if not most new parents. For over twenty-five years, I have been helping parents and one thing that is clear is that it can be very difficult to ask for help. You don’t want to be judged on your parenting abilities but you need help. So where to from here?
Let’s consider a baby under three months. First off, a baby under three months will not have an established routine, it just doesn’t happen. That doesn’t mean that you can’t work toward understanding the infants sleep cycle.
A good way to consider sleep cycles is to look at the entire feed/play/sleep scenario. A baby should be up no longer than one hour. In that hour, we would be feeding, interacting and looking for the cues your baby gives you. Things like grizzling, jerky movement and clenched fists are all tired signs. This tells us it’s ‘bedtime’.
A baby has a 40-minute sleep cycle and with 2 to 3 sleep cycles per sleep. That means that every 40 minutes a baby will cycle out of a deeper sleep into a light sleep phase. This part of the cycle is when they tend to be restless. Often a baby will settle itself and cycle back to a deeper sleep but this does not always happen.
You might need to try some different settling techniques to find the one that works for you and your baby. It is equally important that you establish a good support network, whether it be with family and friends or a health professional.