Dr Josephine Bleach, of the Early Learning Initiative* at NCI, offers these suggestions for making the most of the last weekend of the summer holidays.
It is that time of year again. All the schools are back on Monday. Pens, pencils, copies, books and uniforms are flying out of shops as if there is no tomorrow.
Just take a deep breath. Step back from it all and enjoy the last weekend of summer.
Do fun things together
Make the most of the last few days of down time with your children. Create good memories by doing fun things together that you will not have time for when school starts. Kick a football. Fly kites. Blow bubbles. Have a water fight. Play hide and seek. Take a last minute trip to the beach, the park or the museum. (Check out our suggestions for family activities that are both fun and educational.)
Relax! Have a pyjama day. Lounge around the house reading books, playing board games, drawing pictures and trying out your cooking skills. Take a trip down memory lane by looking at old family photographs and videos.
Take time to chat
Slow down and chat to your children about going back to school. Talk through scenarios that might be worrying them: will their friends be in their class? Will the new teacher be as nice as the last? Will the work be too hard? Encourage them to come up with possible solutions and/or alternative views: they will make new friends; the teacher will be just as nice, but in a different way…In this way, you will ease all their worries - and your own! - about the new school year.
Take time for yourself
Finally, make sure you do something nice for yourself. Give your children away for a few hours - to someone who will appreciate and enjoy them as much as, if not more, than you do. Choose something you used to enjoy when you had a life before children, and just do it!
Have that spa treatment, manicure or massage before you forget what one is. Take a solo walk, run or cycle and enjoy the solitude of your own thoughts. Spend time chatting with friends, without being interrupted. Give yourself a treat. Come home refreshed and ready to listen to what a great time your children had without you. More importantly, come home ready and able to tackle the madness that ‘back to school’ involves.
*Dr Josephine Bleach is Director of the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) at National College of Ireland. The ELI works with families, communities and schools in the Dublin Docklands to support the education of children from birth onwards. Without this early intervention, generations of children’s life chances will have been determined before their first day at school. Through literacy, numeracy and home visiting programmes, the Early Learning Initiative is helping to create a high-achieving, cohesive Docklands community.
Read more about the Early Learning Initiative at NCI.
Questions? Feedback? Leave us a comment below. All commenters on NCI's blog get added to a raffle, to win a weekend away!