In the Southern Hemisphere, we have this crazy rush to the end of year where we squeeze the wind up to the working year, Christmas, New Year celebrations, annual holidays and the end of the school year all into a few short weeks. The pace can be frenetic and it is no wonder everyone becomes frazzled.
Term 4 is equally busy at schools. Here is a few ideas to help you navigate the chaos of the final term of school.
Swimming - most students return to swimming after Labour weekend, so be prepared by digging out the goggles, togs and swimming bag in the holidays. Don't forget to label these items while you are in full prep mode. To aid morning madness, write the swimming days on a tag and attach it to the bag, so that is easy to know what days the kids are swimming.
Tiredness and Routines- It's inevitable, kids get tired at the end of the term and especially at the end of the year. Daylight saving helps us out to combat early morning waking but the first few days can be rough as kids readjust their body clocks. When routines lapse, things get missed and generally speaking it is leaves a parent scrambling and carrying an extra load. Keep to bedtimes, homework expectations and chores.
Extra curricular activities - Less can be best in Term 4. Lots of extra curricular activities like to finish with a bang with end of year shows, costume days and parties. It is a fantastic opportunity for kids and parents to celebrate a year's work and achievement, but just be mindful of extra rehearsals, shows and costume buying requirements.Can you fit this into your schedule? Put the dates in the calendar ahead of time, and actively seek out parents to carpool with. Acknowledge it may not be the best time to start a new activity, if you are already stretched and your child is starting to lag. If you have a 5 year old that has recently started school, chances are they are going to need some down time in the afternoon and a 45 minute dance class in a hot hall may just finish them off.
Testing - In term 4, there is a lot of testing for the end of year reports and for information that needs to be passed onto the next year's teacher. Support your child by continuing to encouraging reading, basic facts and spelling. While these items may sound mundane and always on the homework list, they are foundational skills that underpin the key subjects of reading, writing and maths. If your child is moving to Year 7, the expectation is that they know all of the times tables. Use this as motivation to complete the final facts.
Shared lunches - It seems like every second day in the last couple of weeks is a shared lunch or bring a plate. Combat this by stocking up on items that require little prep. Here are some easy catering options that will mean you won't be dashing out to the supermarket at 7am.
1) Buy supermarket pikelets, freeze them and then when needed add butter and jam or if you are feeling fancy, cream and a bit of festive strawberry.
2) Cook store bought sausage rolls and then freeze them. On that morning that your child tells you that they have a shared lunch (and chances are they will remember as they are walking out the door!), you can whip out your frozen rolls and they will be defrosted by morning tea.
3) Popcorn - easy peasy. Put in individual cups. Add cinnamon sugar, 100s and 1000s or keep plain.
4 )If your motto is 'fresh is best', cut up fruit, put them in a kebab stick and add some melted chocolate if desired.
For those parents, who are forward thinking, -get a hop on next year by finding out who is in your child's class when school starts back. For those children who find new situations challenging, introduce yourself to your child's new teacher. Talk to your child about where the toilets are, who are the teachers next door and where they will put their bag. Introduce yourself to some parents in your class, give them your contact details as it may be that you can organise a play date for the holidays and aide the first day "I don't know anyone" anxiety.
As the final bell tolls on the end of the year. give yourself a pat on the back. You have packed 200 lunches for your precious darling (just keep multiplying that number for the number of kids you have!) and you have navigated yet another busy school year. No mean feat!