A new year has just begun. With it comes the promise of hope, new beginnings, new things, new schools, new classes, new dreams, new resolves as well as new resolutions.

This can also be a stressful time, especially for mummies whose little ones are just starting out or changing schools. I remember when Miss T started school. Unfortunately the conditions that led us to taking her to school were more than ideal and we did not even have time to prepare ourselves or her for it. And this meant we also did not have time to do much due diligence with regards to the school and other things that parents do before putting their child in school.

Having been at home for long, my biggest worry was how she would interact with the adults taking care of her as well as the other children. I tried not to worry too much, especially seeing there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I was 30km away at work, having previously missed so much work that even if I wanted, I had no leave days left and working from home was more of a pain and hassle than going in to work. So I checked in at lunch time to see how she was doing. She was doing great I was told, happily playing with the other children. Though I was still worried, that took a huge weight off my shoulders. At least she was playing and enjoying herself. When I picked her up, I could see she had enjoyed herself and the next morning she was clearly disappointed that she wasn’t going back. We eventually sent her to school full time as it became clear that she was doing much better there than we thought she was doing at home. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

When she first started school, she really was a baby and I only needed to pack her meals and her diaper bag which included 4 sets of clothes, diapers, wet wipes, blankets, tissue, medicine and clinic card.

When she transferred her to another school later, we didn’t have to carry as many clothes and diapers as before as they were potty training and we also stopped making meals from home. All we needed to pack was water, fruit and snacks.

In 2016 she moved to a bigger class and then we joined the group of parents consumed with buying stationery. I don’t think we shopped around for cheap prices. The thing with December and January shopping is that malls and stores are packed full of people at those times. So you want to find a store, go in and get everything and leave. No one wants to be queuing in different shops all day just to save R5. Because when you factor in time, stress levels, you really are not saving much by getting school stationery from different shops.

That being said, one needs to know exactly where they are going to buy school supplies before they leave the house. Even if you decide to shop at different stores, that decision needs to be made before you go out to save time and help you keep focused.

More than the stationery and cold clothes, uniforms and gadgets we buy for back to school, we need to prepare the kids mentally and emotionally for going back to school. Especially if they are going to school for the first time or going to a new school. There will be some separation anxiety in most children and parents, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be clingy. Save time for that. Talk to your child before hand to try assure them that they will be okay.

It’s a new year, a new beginning. I pray and hope it is going to be a great one for all of us.

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