With schools just around the corner, several parents are becoming preoccupied with getting their kids ready for the new academic year. This includes buying uniforms, stationaries and of course the new school bag. While this routine excites children and is by all means necessary, parents fail to acknowledge the most critical form of preparation; the emotional one.
By emotional preparation I specifically mean mapping out what your child can expect from the new school year. This process is overlooked by many and instead, perceived that children will easily transition smoothly from one year to the next, when this is rarely the case. Once trouble starts, parents begin to question, what went wrong? Why is he acting out this year when he was great the year before? Why is she finding it difficult to make friends now? Why does he hate his new teacher so much?
Children accustom themselves more easily in new situations and events when they know what to expect. Speaking to your child about what to anticipate prior to change allows them to feel more emotionally secure by providing them with stability through a perceived controlled environment. Better yet, if you have the ability to provide visual images before beginning a new school/ classroom / teacher, children are more likely to accept and encourage the change by familiarizing themselves with it once put in the situation.
The more detail you can provide the better for your child; down to the nitty-gritties. Here are a few suggestions on what to talk about before your new term begins:
- What should your child expect this year at school in academic and social terms. Outline what your child will be exploring in class this year, what new skills they will learn and which friends are continuing with them in class.
- “Why” questions are very important to be asked from your child and answered by you. Leave room for their questions and while answering as honestly as possible. Describe why their classroom is changing, why they will be meeting a new teacher this grade and why it will be expected of them to begin doing homework for example.
- How will your child be expected to behave this year that is different from the year before? What new responsibilities will she/he have? Are they expected to become more independent than the year before, if so how? How will their routine at home change too once school starts?
“Children accustom themselves more easily in new situations and events when they know what to expect”
If I had to pick the MOST important question to ask though it will have to be, ‘How can I help you this school year?’ This question really empowers children to feel belonging and significance within their family. By feeling valued, this encourages children to make more confident day-to-day decisions while ultimately, reciprocating the respect being given to them to those around them. Finally, always end your conversations by reminding your littles if they think of any more questions, any at all, you are right here to answer them.
Ramadan is just around the corner and while most of you are planning for the celebratory month one of the biggest preparations you should have on your to-do list is getting children involved in Ramadan. Involvement can mean a lot of things. For this article, I interpret involvement as including children willingly in the traditions and allowing them to feel like they are part of the celebration. Involvement means creating, doing, making, helping and maybe even learning a thing or two about Ramadan along the way.
Make your own Ramadan calendar
Get your kids to look forward to everyday surprises. Fill pockets with not only small gifts as stickers or small Ramadan key chains, but I even prefer an even better option of writing personalized notes for your child. A great idea would be to encourage children to perform acts of kindness every day; each pocket would include a note of a different way they can show kindness today. For the older children you can include a note with a small story of the Prophets so it would act as a bed-time story routine during that month. You can order your Ramadan calendar on @mishabymaitabbassi intagram page Click Here.
Make a sadaqa/charity box
Explain the importance of giving to others. At the beginning of the month ask them who would they like to help whether it’s someone they now personally that might be in need as driver or gate-keeper or a more general act of kindness as buying toys for children in the streets. Whatever it may be, make sure that this is your child’s decision and choice and allow them to take action on it by the end of the month. I would highly advise to make sure children give away physical objects that they could see would be useful to others instead of money, however this is your personal choice.
‘Reach for the stars’
Throughout Ramadan you can regularly take a look at the moon together and speak about the different phases of the moon and how this is relevant in welcoming the month of Ramadan.
Star Cookie Cutters
Since Ramadan is usually associated with a star and crescent moon, why not use this theme in your kitchen! Get a creative as you can. You can find star shaped cookie cutters on bentomommys.eg page Click Here. Get as creative as you can here are just a few options for inspiration.
Pack baskets or bags for the disadvantages/homeless
Delegate tasks that are age appropriate for your child to complete alone so as to allow them the feeling of competence as well as the fulfillment of helping others by themselves. An hour before Iftar you can go around your neighborhood with your child giving them out. During the process explain to your child the meaning of being kind to those in need while demonstrating it.
Pick a day for the family to wear the typical religious attire one would wear . Isdal/Abaya for girls and a ‘galabeya; for boys perhaps. Kids love to dress up and make-believe and what a great learning experience would it be for you to get out your galabyas and have a ‘costume’ party while introducing children to their traditional garments.
Have them help with house Decorations
With the month of Ramadan comes a lot of festivities and decoration for those gatherings. Make it a tradition that every year both you and your child together help set up the house with decorations. Invite them to say their option on where they want the Ramadan lantern to be and include them in the decorating process. You can even make it a tradition that your child lights up the lantern every day for you.
Each child is different in their amazing way. Which ever method you see fits best to involve your child during the month of Ramadan make sure you have an amazing time together creating, making and learning.
Ramadan Kareem to you and your family.