Yes, the children have gone back to school. Yes, many are going for the first time and yes, it is exciting and perhaps a little tear jerking. But if I have to read one more 'I just don't know how I'm going to cope on my own' Facebook status or tweet from competitive helicopter parents vying to be the winner of the prestigious Most Suffocating Parent of the Year award, I will scream.
So for those of you who don't know what you'll do with yourselves whilst your darling angels are out enjoying themselves, finally free from your never ending encouragement and hands-on parenting, here are a few hints and tips. Warning: Do not take seriously.
1. Feel closer to your little angel by knowing they are getting your words of wisdom trickled to them throughout the day. Use iron-on labels for helpful hints and reminders to help get them through the long period away from you. 'Don't forget to wash your hands' scrawled on a name tag and ironed into their knickers. 'Don't wipe your nose on your sleeve' on the cuff of their jumper and 'sit up straight' stuck into their pencil case.
2. Prepare the home for your prodigal child's return by ensuring all sharp edges and hard surfaces are covered in thick, protective layers of bubble wrap. Heaven knows how tired your little darling will be after a day of not having to listen to you telling him to be careful every 0.56 seconds. And a tired child is a clumsy child, we all know that.
3. No nut allergy yet? Never fear, even if your child isn't suffering from this on trend allergy just yet, it is never too early to protect her from it. Never has three hours been better spent than removing all the nuts from your little princess's Honey Nut Cornflakes. Better safe than sorry, I always say.
4. Flash cards aren't just for pre-schoolers, you know. They can also teach you to be a better parent, something we should all be striving for on an hourly basis. Reuse your babies old flashcards, covering them in facts like 'parenting is a joy and a privilege' and 'nothing is too much trouble for my child' and test yourself in the mirror for at least one hour each day.
5. Lunch time just isn't the same without your little darling, is it? But just because they aren't there doesn't mean you can't feel close to them. Make yourself some jam sandwiches - don't forget to cut the crusts off - turn on Cbeebies and crawl inside the wendy house for a teddy bear's picnic. Sprinkle a few extra crumbs on the floor and it'll be like they never left.
6. Never does time pass quicker than when you are crafting. So why not combine those crafting needs with a clever way to make sure mummy's little dumpling stays on track in school. Make a reward chart for him from that endless supply of spare card and glitter you have lying around your craft room; one row for each lesson. Then phone the teacher for hourly updates on his progress, adding and subtracting stars as you go. He'll be so thrilled to know he is earning rewards for his cleverness even when he's out of your reach.
7. Don your pinny and keep the home fires burning with a daily baking session, welcoming your little princess home with fresh cupcakes every day. Don't forget to write loving messages on them in icing. You could pack her a box of them to take to school the next day; delicious cupcakes for those poor children whose mothers just don't care enough to make the effort.
8. Keep a diary of all the things you wanted to tell him through the day and you can sit down together over an after school cupcake and go through your day in minute detail.
9. If the idea of having to leave your precocious bundle of joy is just too much to bear, make yourself a flask and a packed lunch and camp outside the school gates. You can shout words of encouragement to your child during playtime and take notes of any child that so much as looks at your darling the wrong way. Notes which you can approach the parents of offending child with later – they will be nothing but delighted to hear you have been keeping an eye on their child's behavior for them and they would no doubt relish that chance to spend a few days with your parenting flash cards.
10. Make up for those dreadful hours of forced separation by bonding with your child at night and reintroducing co-sleeping to your home. You'll be pleased to learn that an extended period of co-sleeping – preferably until they are at least 14 years of age – means your child is 60VIRTUAL-Gallery-131589VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%