Tag: School

Getting Ready For My Kindergartener

Routine, learning and more growing is what to look forward to when your child starts school and it is one that we have been anticipating in our home. We are in full “Preparing for Kindergarten” mode!

I have officially registered Nikki for Kindergarten and here in Ontario, it is a full school day which is different from when I went to school. I only had to go for half a day which I do recall already being such a long day to be away from home. But I know that Nikki is going to love being away for the full day, especially with all the fun learning she will be doing.

Nikki is much more braver than I am and she is definitely a lot less shy than I was growing up.

So here I am a mom of a child who is going to embark on school life in September and I am embracing the experience as best as possible.

I am not sure if I will be able to prepare myself in time to drop her off on that first day of school as I clearly remember her first day of swim school…I was fighting back the tears as she left me without saying good-bye. Therefore, I can only imagine what the big school day will bring me. I am thinking that there is a lot of preparation that I need to do to help all of us adjust and that means there are a few areas to tackle before the big day.

Now there are tons of articles out on how to prepare your child for Kindergarten and as I read each one it started to make me feel a lot more anxious. The list is long and I want my child to excel so the pressure has already started! I figure that I need to put steps in place to help me as the parent prepare myself for my Kindergartener.

Emotions In Check And Ready

Emotions are wonderful and can be difficult at times to keep in check. I have noticed that my daughter feeds off of my emotions and energy so it is time to keep mine in check especially around going to school. I have been keeping my energy and conversations positive and exciting for her big day which is helping her feel confident for the new adventure. Her confidence in turn is making me feel a lot better about this big step in her life. Any time I do catch myself feeling a little overwhelmed with the preparation checklist, I take a break from it and take a nice bubble bath (those do wonders!).

Communicating With Other Parents

Best way to prepare yourself as a parent is to talk to other parents. I have started to ask questions to my friends who have already been down this route and it is comforting to me as I get to learn from them. Every parents’ experience and advice all differ which provides me with a wealth of perspectives. Therefore, talk with others and if you know parents that have children that are attending your child’s school then they are the best to ask!

Luckily for us, our neighbours attend the same school that my daughter will be going to and I got the inside scoop on the school, programs and the staff which helps in preparing me for the first drop off.

Get To Know The School

Don’t be afraid to ask the school the questions that you need in order to feel comfortable with this transition. Get to know the school. The school that we will be attending offers an information night which I think is great. It is an evening where parents and child can attend the school to get instructions on how we can help their child prepare for Kindergarten. They will also be providing a bag of materials to support the child’s learning. My daughter is already excited for this “goodie” bag.

I will be using this opportunity to get Nikki and I comfortable with the school setting and also meet the teachers in person. I hope they are ready for all the Momma Braga questions! 😉

Manage Expectations

Expectations are important to manage as you want to set yourself and your child up for success. This is why I am keeping my expectations realistic and being prepared as best as I can for the bumps along the way. This is one big step for all of us so I want to make sure that Nikki knows that we are by her side when she needs us but at the same time helping her build her independence. She will need to hone that skill if she is expecting to take on the world (This is why I need to manage my expectations as I always set them high). 😉

These are my four steps in helping parents prepare for Kindergarten as we are a crucial part to the transition and once we are confident, our child will also be too. Now I am not guaranteeing that there will be no tears as I know I will be crying my heart out (I have already started with just writing this article) but these steps might make it just a little easier. Above all, embrace, love and have fun!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Learning Swim Skills Through Aqua-Tots Swim School

Every year we hear about children falling into pools or waters and drowning and it’s always tragic to hear. This is why we felt it was important to have our daughter learn to swim. Of course we will combine the swim lessons with water safety and what to do in case of an emergency.

Therefore, my sister-in-law was on the case to help me find a swim school that would be a great fit for our family and provide the program that would teach the skills that my daughter needed to know. After a lengthy research she found the Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.

The school was originally founded in Arizona in 1991 and has grown considerably over the years to have a strong North American and international presence thanks to its carefully crafted swimming program for children. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga is the first Aqua-Tots location in Canada and has had its doors open to the Toronto West and Mississauga communities since January 2017.

With a focus on safety, a heated pool, a facility designed for families, and on-going progress reports across eight swim levels, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools introduces babies and children of all ages to safe swimming and water practices. Open six days a week, with flexible morning and afternoon lesson times, the swim schools offers a range of classes.

Aqua-Tots Swim School had a great history and structure and we loved their mission statement: “With more than 80 swim schools worldwide, Aqua-Tots was founded on the principle of equipping children with life-long water safety skills. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools is committed to helping children of all ages develop these life-saving skills through an engaging curriculum that is especially designed to complement each child’s life stage.”

Photo Credit: Aqua-Tots Simming School Mississauga

This is exactly the type of school that we were looking for and therefore, Nikki was registered in the Beginner program which is Level 3, LeapFrogs.

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, teaches babies as young as 4 months old and children of all ages how to be safe in and around water and develop a love for swimming. Each of the eight levels has a focus that’s specific to the age and ability of the child. For example, the Level 1, Tadpoles class is for guardians and infants and focuses on water adjustment. Additionally, attention is on safety and breath control.

Level 2, Minnows, on the other hand, is still a guardian and toddler program, in which toddlers learn about the importance of boundaries in and around water with an ongoing focus on safety. Each new level develops at a comfortable pace for the child. Advanced levels, such as seven and eight have little ones working on the butterfly stroke and building endurance after they have mastered the other main strokes.

Photo Credit: Aqua-Tots Swimming School Mississauga

Our first swim lesson was scheduled on a Sunday afternoon and we made it a family affair. I have to be honest as that is the only way I know how to be but I was very nervous for many reasons. One reason was on how Nikki was going to react going with the instructor to the swimming pool without me and the second reason was on her safety. I think it is natural for us parents to feel like that especially with something new.

The time came and it was time for Nikki to start her class. The instructor called her name and took her hand and her progress sheet (I like to call it her report card) and off they went. To my surprise Nikki didn’t even turn back to say good-bye and I can feel the tears welt up in my eyes. I sat down to watch the class in session and she was a real pro looking like she was in her element. I couldn’t help feel really emotional and proud at the same time. The first swim class was a wrap and Nikki fell in love with swimming!

We started our swim classes in July and are still continuing once a week. We have changed the format of her swim classes from group to semi-private classes and even the day of the week that we wanted to have it on. So we love the flexibility that they have been able to offer for families. Nikki has improved her confidence in the water and has really picked up on the skills quickly. But we know with time, she will be swimming to her hearts content soon.

For this #MelandNikkiReview, we give Aqua-Tots Swim School 5 LeapFrogs out of 5. Here is why we love them:

  • Great programs that are tailored to toddlers and children to help them gain the skills needed to swim.
  • Flexible schedules available for families which is so great for working families.
  • Clean and safe environment. They are extremely clean and have safety in mind. As a parent, it is important to learn about your swim schools safety procedure.
  • Caring instructors and staff members who make you feel like part of the family.
  • It’s fun! Your child learns and has fun at the same time.

If you are looking for a swim class for your child then we suggest looking at Aqua-Tots Swim School. Enrolment is on-going, season-neutral and takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Visit Aqua-Tot’s website to read about the different levels of swimming lessons https://www.aqua-tots.com/swim-lessons/swim-levels/. If you are in the Mississauga area you can call the Aqua-Tots Swim School at 905-848-2782 which is located at 1970 Dundas Street East, Unit 6. Also make sure to follow them on Facebook to see what’s new. For Aqua-Tots main office, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Special thank you to Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swimming School Mississauga for taking the time to contribute some background information to this article and to the staff at Aqua-Tots for making swimming so much fun for my daughter.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this not a paid or sponsored post. This article is an honest review of services that we have used and are currently using.

 

How to Maintain Sanity When Getting Back to School

You may think that this year is going to be easy-peasy, especially if you have prior back-to-school experience. However, the reality has a tendency to be a bit different than what we expect. Therefore, stress and anxiety that follow school year prep can be really pressuring for both your kids and you as parents. With that in mind, you can take a new practical approach and make sure that this beginning of a school year proceeds as smoothly as possible. There are a couple of tips that can help you prepare so take a look.

Photo Source; https://www.flickr.com/photos/mareeam/4999637599

Adopt the new schedule in advance

Even if there’s still a week or two of summer break left, it would be wise to start with the school year schedule as soon as possible. This especially involves waking up, meals and bedtime. If your whole family starts following this new schedule, it will be much easier to transition back into it just in time for school. That way, you’ll be able to prevent any potential issues that would have otherwise stress everyone out.

Plan out your shopping essentials

Shopping for the new school year can be another stressful issue. Your kids may really hate shopping, or, they may enjoy it far too much. Either way, unplanned shopping trips can really end in a disaster. Therefore, before you go anywhere and look at any school essentials, sit your kids down and talk to them. Make a shopping list of all the things they need and then find the best offer. That way, you’ll know exactly where to go and what to look for.

Be there for your kids

The ones that are the most nervous about going back to school are your kids. Therefore, it’s very important to talk to them. However, don’t do it superficially. Talk about the possibility of making new friends and minimize their anxiety by talking about things that they will actually love about school. This can be playing with their friends or learning something new. Of course, if they’re truly worried about something, try to come up with possible solutions.

Bring back the responsibilities

Not many kids think about chores and other responsibilities during summer, and that’s perfectly normal. After all, they too deserve a rest. However, they still need to fall back into the usual school routine and keep up with the program. You can help your kids rediscover the importance of being responsible by giving them some chores to complete before the school year starts. This can be making the bed in the morning, tidying up their room, choosing the clothes to wear for tomorrow or folding the clothing pieces properly.


Make the whole experience enjoyable

If your kids aren’t happy and they stress about school a lot, you won’t be satisfied either. However, it’s paramount for your and their sanity to make school time as fun as possible. Studying is important but kids also need to know that they can freely express themselves. For example, you can let them use eco-friendly permanent markers to decorate their notebooks or, wait for it, decorate a wooden garden furniture, thus, expressing their creative self. You can also do fun chemistry experiments at home or let them in on some of the most extraordinary facts about the nature around them.

The most important thing about the back-to-school period is understanding that it’s perfectly normal for it to be a bit stressful for your whole family. Once you accept that, dealing with different situations and changes in your everyday life will be much easier. The end of summer may be near, but that doesn’t mean that autumn, and everything that comes with it, is not going to be fun and exciting.