Welcome to A Kid's Life.

For last 20 years Angela Lockwood has been engaging with kids, empowering parents and educating professionals teachers to navigate a child's learning journey to help them thrive.

Through the A Kid's Life podcast Angela Lockwood’s goal is to help us adults better understand the complexities of life as a kid. Angela and her guests share stories, reflections and simple strategies to support kids of all needs as they walk through life. Whether you’re a parent, teacher or health professional, A Kid's Life Podcast is the place for you.

For more tips on parenting and supporting your child through their learning journey, follow at www.angelalockwood.com.au or @angelalockwood_ over at Instagram.


Routines for a successful start to school.

When the school year starts it can feel chaotic settling into new routines, meeting new people and adapting to a new way of life. In this episode, Angela Lockwood shares 5 simple ways parents can help the year to start smoothly and in doing so set important foundations for their child's learning experience for the year ahead.

Thanks for listenting to the podcast. For more tips on parenting and supporting your child through their learning journey, follow at www.angelalockwood.com.au


Episode Transcription

Welcome to A Kid’s Life Podcast.

I’m Angela Lockwood and thank you so much for joining me. I know that it has been a hectic start of the year but I don’t think this year is unique at all because every single year we start the school year hoping that we will be a little bit calmer that things will be a little bit more settled but in the New Year starts we start at school and then we realise we’re running around hectically again but this year for some of you you may have had kids start school and today is all about how do we help our kids start school off on the right foot. Now it doesn’t mean we’re going to be looking at how we help them academically. What we will be looking at today and having a chat about is how do we help to establish new routines and help our kids settle into this new routine of being at school? So your child might have started there I guess kindergarten, prep whenever your state or territory calls it but it’s that first year of school where they step up into a formal education from preschool or the year before they start their schooling and it’s funny I have been spending a lot of time in schools.

During the last couple of weeks I have been helping our little children where I am in New South Wales, kindergarten kids really just settle in and find their way in the first couple of days. It was very much around separating from parents and things like where they put their bags, when can I go to the toilet? I’m thirsty. Can we go and have a water get a drink of water in the middle of where and when the teachers have been talking? You know there’s a lot of those really simple routines that we look at and we think well they’re not that much of a big deal but for the kids in the first week or two settling into those routines is actually setting a really important foundation and base for them of which they will grow their educational journey off and for a lot of the kids too this is where they start to get an opinion around what school would look like.

Those funniest comments from some of the kids the last few weeks when they’re sort of saying how come everyone keeps telling me what to do or is this all school is or are you serious? I have to keep doing this and these funny comments that these little kids are coming up with where they’re realising the reality of school that school is fun at that. School is great because you meet so many new friends but for a lot of the time it is actually about the following new routines new rules being told what to do a lot and it whether or not that is being told what to do in terms of you need to be here by this time when the bell goes this is where you need to be. All of those things for kids are brand-new experiences and they can add a lot to their little brains. You might have even found that they were really tired the last couple weeks, maybe the first week there might of been some sort of adverse behaviours, they might of been acting out a little bit or they might have been coming home just absolutely exhausted and laying on the lounge and not wanting to do anything you might of found, that they were eating a lot of food more than what they would normally eat and all of these things are totally fine because they’re finding their way.

I hear it all the time when I’m working alongside teachers and classrooms. Teachers and adults are feeling the pressure as well because we’re also trying to find a new routine in our family or we are trying to find a new routine in our work with them. Maybe just come off some school holidays and getting back into the swing of things sometimes is exhausting and we’ve got a sort of find a new groove and all of that is totally fine and totally expected and what we going to find now is we going to be coming out of that sort of settling in period and starting to get into the new routines of the class now so you think about that just had a couple of weeks of trying to settle in and find these new ways of what school life is all about for some kids.

They might have caught the bus for the first time or where does mum or dad pick me up from? When do I eat my food? All of these things have been a real concern. We know when we start work when we go to a new job or we go to a new workplace that we are trying to find our way to we’re trying to find who are the people who we need to be connecting with who are the people that I want to connect with where do I said where is it okay to have lunch? Can I go outside? Do I have to stay in the lunchroom? Is it okay to knock off at this particular time or is there an expectation to stay a little bit longer for all of these things for us. We experience when we go to a new workplace so for our kids they’re also experiencing all of these things so the last few weeks have been whatever they’ve been. I would love for you to just take a little moment. It could be now or it could be at the end of this podcast at the end of our chat where you just look back and think okay how did the last few weeks go for my child? How did the last few weeks go for me and my family? What were the things that worked really really well and that reflection will allow you to go okay there’s some things that worked in the family just seem to really take over and things went really smoothly but there might have been some things where you like I could have done that better.

This is a really basic example which I hear a lot from parents is making lunches some people they make lunches a night before some people make lunches the morning off and for you you might be making lunches the morning off and you realise it was too busy to get the kids out the door in the morning and you were rushing to make lunches so you might want to try. That didn’t work very well so let’s try the night before. Let’s see if that helps or it might be a school drop off that you found it really difficult to separate from your child or your child might have found it difficult to separate from you and take a little bit of time to reflect and look back. You might go well that particular drop off when I walk them to the class. It doesn't work well. I find it really hard to separate whatever it is for you. It might be allowing your school drop off and having a teacher come down and say goodbye to them. The teacher walks them up and everything is a lot smoother so whatever it is it doesn’t matter what aspect of school life or what aspect of starting school it is really important now. Just a press pause as a parent and look and go what has been working well what are some of the things that we might need to change so that we can get through this new school year smoothly without stress without any chaos in the mornings where it might be without having arguments the night before, when kids are trying to go to bed, what are some of the things that we can set up?

I will now work through with you five really simple ways that you can really start school the school year off on the right foot and it is not too late. There’s a reason I’m posting this right now because if there is so much flooding in your mind your family there is so much going on in the first couple weeks now. Is that really good time to press pause and go how are we maybe going to do this differently or what are the things that have worked that we can continue to do so if you’re a parent that is does have a child starting school and this is gonna be really new for you, but if you’re a parent who has kids that are well and truly into the school routine take this is another really good opportunity for you to press pause and go.

Is there anything that in my family this year with school I would like to do differently or is this more responsibility that I want to give my older kids so that I'm not going to do everything yourself? This is a really great time to press pause no matter how old your child is. So you might want to get a pen and a bit of paper and just write these down. There's also a transcription so if you head over to www.angela lockwood.com.au and you will see the podcast episodes there. There are transcriptions underneath.

That will have these tips as well, so the first thing to look at is:

1. Establish a daily routine. Now I have a bit routine focused myself, I do like a good routine. It keeps me feeling like I’m in control but it also helps me when things go a little bit crazy in my family and we have a routine. It’s like a really good feedback mechanism for you so that if you could have all the best intentions to have this wonderful routine in your family, but something happens to a child sick or you know that the dogs run away. It’s pouring rain and the kids walking to school anything like that. If you have a daily routine then it gives you an opportunity to have something to fall back on as well. So consistency is the key when it comes to routines for your kids and things like creating a schedule so I do my kids are a little bit older so we sit down as a family and go right? Where are people at what time every night or every day what sports have we got on who’s working? Where are you and then we look and go right, who can take on dinner that night who can hear whose responsibility is it to take the garbage out and we set it up as a family unit and what I love about doing this is it gives my kids the ownership of going well it is my dinner night tonight and as I said I got high school student so for those of you with kids that are little, it is a little bit different, but they can still pack their bags. They can still take out the garbage if they can still clean up after dinner, even if they are that sort of five or six years old, they can help you with with things that help the family run smoothly, so one of the really important things particular, this time of the year with creating a routine a daily routine is looking at set bedtimes a really easy one to go right. Everyone needs to be in their rooms. Quiet device, free you know I had to say that device for maybe reading or just playing quietly in their rooms at this amount of time at this time and what that allows you to do and I hear there’s a lot with parents actually with kids get older is they feel like they lose that night time quiet time to themselves as parents and that’s really important so having the kids in their rooms, nice and quiet calming down at a particular time sets that expectation that our night time finishes at this and you need to be in your bed and starting to calm down we do it when kids are really little when kids are babies. When kids are toddlers we do that and so when we go they go to school it is equally as important. Another way of looking in a daily routine is what happens in the morning and for you I have I have written a lot about this in my blogs or am on my LinkedIn profile and Angela Lockwood around. How do you create good smooth morning routine so you can check that information out and I’ll probably do another podcast very shortly around that so keep an eye out, but feeling that daily routine allows you to set expectations for your family, but also adds in an element of predictability. Okay that kids know what’s happening when you know what’s happening when and if things go a little bit chaotic you have that routine to fall back on if needed okay so that’s the first one to establish daily routine.

2. The second one is make learning fun for your kids now if you’ve got a school starter there is no way they’ve got homework yet and if they do have homework well that’s a whole another podcast but make learning fun and what I mean by this is it at the start of the year kids can feel like I’ve had a really big shock to the system and like I said before that I’ve got so many rules, a new people telling them what to do so many different things to learn so if your child is at the capacity to focus on any type of after school activities, like homework or anything that needs a cognitive of element to it. Their bodies are tired their brains tired, so you’ll find they won’t have the motivation, the drive, or they won’t Interest to do it so the way around this is to make learning really fun and do it in short spurts, you’ve got your readers to do so maybe a little kids are coming home with books from school not be able to read yet so sitting with them at night and I know one of the things I would tell you this story because I love it and my kids still talk about it even as teenagers. I used to read books to them in what we thought funny language so I would make up voices which I am definitely not good at making up voices but my kids thought it was hilarious and I would read the book to them in really funny way is and I can make up the story Not necessarily from the reader but I would look at the picture and I would make up something funny about the picture and what the kids loved about it is it made Reading fun they really look forward to it and in fact there be times where I would be reading to them in the normal way reading the words in a very yeah I just Have the word I would do is I will just continue and wait for them and I could guarantee you one of them would say mum can you do it in funny language and then the whole ready experience finished finished off in a really fun way so there might be things like if you or Ian know that the teacher said to you that your Childs would be great for them to start to work on their handwriting sitting them down doing handwriting, worksheets let’s face it is boring so take them outside. Do some painting and get them to do some fun activities where they’re painting maybe on an easel, or they’re drawing portraits of that funny portraits of their dog or doing fun things outside or it might be arm things like if they’re making dinner and you know that our numbers aren’t really their thing yet will helping you weigh and measure things for dinner, or even if they’re having difficulties with learning phonics or learning any of the sounds you singing with them and making things fun. It’s just little things because kids learn best when they’re playing, and when they’re having fun, the first thing out of the Routine and make learning fun is to be involved in your children’s education.

3. Be involved in your child’s education. This is not the one of the ways where you can start the learning journey off on the right foot for your kids, and because life is busy, I get it. It can feel really hard to do the juggle between now having to be involved in your children’s education, but where you can attending things like school events, volunteering when you can as a parent helper, communicating with your child’s teacher through arm if they using a class app or just saying hello to them at the end of the school day every now and again being interested and showing interest in your child’s day helps their schooling journey to start off on the right foot and this will also help you. There’s an extra benefit to this. It will help you address any issues that may arise, but it also enhances the connection between you and the teacher, but also more importantly, it helps you create a connection with your child and you learn things like who their new friends are. Maybe those who they having difficulties with there might be some kids who they’re not connecting with. Also learn things like the new lingo that they using at school, and you sometimes be shot with the words, or you know things like what the latest cool song is, or the game that everyone’s playing so when you’re involved in your kids education in so in whatever capacity, you have the ability to be able to do what it does it sets you off on the right foot on your child’s learning journey around being involved. Also that shows your child that you’re interested in their schooling and it just helps. It’s so fun you know I really miss it having my kids at high school and being involved like we were when the kids were starting school you didn’t they don’t want you to come to the the swimming carnival any more or there’s no parent helpers or things like that, you know it’s a really beautiful time of your child's educational journey to be involved in it and in whatever way you can have, it doesn’t mean you have to be the president of the Parents Association but just turning up every now and again and supporting your school also creates a wonderful sense of community and involvement

4. Okay so the fourth one is encourage organisational skills in your kids. I say this all the time helping your child learn to stay organised, and I mean keeping things I attractive like the school supplies making sure that they know if they’ve got school work coming up homework coming up or assignments coming up or if there’s notes that the teachers give them that you want to make sure that they don’t have that awful gross banana sitting in the bottom of the bag that sits there for weeks on end. Keeping them organise having a good little system that your child knows I might be, they walk in the door fake mediately unpack the bag they take their lunchbox out. They throw the garbage in the bin and they give you whatever notes they have. This is not too much of an expectation for a child in the first year of school they can do all of these things because I can guarantee you if there was a backpack full of chocolates and lollies and lollipops and all the stuff that they shouldn’t be having are they would find a way to open their bag pull that out empty it and zip it back up so it’s not too much of an expectation to ask your children to have an organised organisational system like I’m packing the bag like putting their clothes in the laundry basket you know doing things that creates a sense of independence for them means less reliance on you, but a growing ability to trust themselves into back themselves, and to know they have the skills that they need to get them through the day so organisational skills is a very important one for the kids because it helps things run smoothly, and it gives them a sense of independence and self control.

5. The fifth and final point about today around how do we set our kids' schooling off on the right foot. It is to support their emotional well-being so all of the things we’ve talked about. I’ve been quite tangible, quite practical things this last one around supporting them their emotional well-being is vital because of all those reasons where it’s so new for your child to be navigate in this world of school. Starting school can be really an emotional time for them. It can be very overwhelming. It can be quite stressful so listening and taking that time to listen to your child’s concerns and offer. The reassurance and encouragement is just so important in helping them feel like everything will be okay. This might be sitting with them when you are doing those funny language readers at night before they go to bed or reading them a story, or even just chatting to them. It might be going for a walk with the dog in the afternoon with Amit could be in it when you’re having breakfast. Whatever matches in with your family routine. Ask them about how their day has been, asking them about their friends and how they are feeling about things. It could help them to understand that it’s okay that life doesn’t always go smoothly and if they made a mistake at school that’s okay too. There’s always people to ask for help when needed, and when you can sit and give them a little bit of time where you can show them that you care and you show your child that they have your support. Then they will share things with you even without you asking so supporting their emotional well-being and taking the time to be interested in finding out what’s going on for them, what they’re enjoying and also what they’re not will set them up for success in a beautiful connected relationship with you. It’ll take them through the whole learning journey so today is all about how we help our kids start school off on the right foot, so just remember with these five things, with a positive and a supportive approach. You can help your child to start the school off on the right foot, and importantly, what sets those really important frameworks in those important foundations to help them have a really fulfilling learning journey and just remember that this is such an exciting time for kids.

Enjoy, embrace every part of it because it’s an important time for them and they’ll be needing you right now so a little cuddle and a little bit of time every now and again will do. Wonders for helping a child to see school as a beautiful, fulfilling fun, learning space and for all of our any more of information around how you can support your kids head on over to www.angelalockwood.com.au and you can go to the blog where there is all the information on there around ways that you can put systems in place and expand on all of these points a little bit more but of course you’ve already found me here on a kids life podcast keep coming back because there will be so much more information for you on how you can better support your child navigate their learning journey Until next time. I’m Angela Lockwood stay safe and enjoy!