It's that time of year – the kids go back to school. Thank God! Not that it hasn't been lots of fun, but I'm tired now, and want my life back. I liked the house the way it used to be, before there was beach all over the floor, and the contents of the playroom was tipped all over my kitchen.
For some though, it's not so much a case of back to school, rather the beginning of school. A whole new world is about to open up to the next generation of Preppies, who are on the verge of graduating from confirmed littledom to being really big! Scary for some, but often, actually, scarier for mums and dads.
It's not unusual for parents to go a bit funny when their little ones start school. Whether it's your first 'first day at school' or your last, seeing them in their uniform, all clean and shiny, and waving goodbye, can be very emotional.
And the emotions are rarely as simple as ‘happy’ or ‘sad’. For many, there are feelings of pride and excitement, a little apprehension and perhaps even a touch of relief at having made it this far without combusting. All of these things are quite normal, and you may find yourself juggling them over the days and weeks surrounding the start of term.
As complex and pervading as your emotions might be, don't forget that your kids may also be experiencing moments of worry or confidence lags, alongside more obvious expressions of excitement.
They will look to you for emotional guidance and the skills to explore and digest their feelings. Your response to your emotions will influence how they manage and contain theirs. So try to spend time talking about feelings, validating their concerns, and reassuring them that everyone gets a little nervous sometimes, but that you will always be there for them.
You may cry a little, but when they tell you excitedly about all their wonderful new friends, their amazing playground, and the “awesome” day they just had, I promise you, you will smile.