With the start of a new schooling year just around the corner, it’s time to get back into the usual school routine. However, this can be hard to do after six weeks of sun, fun and nothing serious to do. Our back-to-school tips can help you get the kids back into the groove and prepare them for the year ahead.
Get sleep schedules back on track
It’s easy for bedtimes to become later in the summer holidays, leading to epic sleep-ins the next day! To avoid the post-holidays blues and start the year off well, it’s best to re-instate your child’s regular bedtime routine and wake-up time several days before school starts back up. Not only will this improve their concentration in the classroom, it’ll also help avoid any grumpiness and arguments!
Get the kids involved in back to school organisation
It’s not always easy as there’s a lot to think about and organise, however taking the time to prepare for school reduces the stress not only for you but also for your children.
A great way to get the kids excited about heading back into the classroom is to get them involved too! Take them shopping to gather all the stationary supplies, uniforms and school shoes and let them make some decisions on what to get. This could involve choosing their new school bag or lunchbox/ drink bottle, deciding what snack foods they might like, or trying on their uniform for size. And don’t forget to ensure they are in the habit of applying a good SPF30 natural sunscreen to themselves each day.
If they couldn’t think of anything worse than shopping for these items, get them to check them out online and pick a few things they like.
And lastly, we all know how easy it is for children to lose track of their items, so be sure to label everything!
Create a space that is all about school
This could be a spare space with desk organisers on the kitchen table or a wall schedule, or perhaps a one-stop station in the living room but creating somewhere your kids know that’s dedicated to school is a great way to prepare!
Having all school related things in one area can minimise stress and anxiety throughout the year. For younger children, a homework caddy/ organiser is a great idea and for older children a whiteboard/noticeboard works well.
You could create a DIY mud room near the front door where all coats, bags, shoes etc can be hung on hooks to simplify the daily routine.
Minimising anxiety in some children
Many children will start becoming anxious at the thought of leaving their loved ones and heading back to school, especially if they haven’t seen a lot of friends during the break (thanks Covid!!). To help them transition, talk about how they’re feeling and what is worrying them.
You can offer support by normalising experiences of worry and nerves. Reassure your child the feelings they have are common and they will likely overcome them once they have settled in. Worries and courage can exist together! Teach them calming strategies (breathing in and out to use if they feel themselves getting nervous.
Depending on your child’s age, you can also try the following to help:
- Early years/pre-school – write a social story about going to daycare or school and the routine ahead, read books about first days at school
- Primary years – set up a peer-buddy system (the school may have this already) where a peer or older child meets yours at the school gate or, if neighbours’ kids can go into school together. Try to organise some play dates before school starts.
- Secondary years – establish healthy routines as a family. Support each other around technology use, sleep and schoolwork.
For little ones starting at a new school or starting kindergarten, it’s good to be prepared and know where to go, who to chat to, who is their teacher etc to ensure as smooth a start as possible.
Creature comforts - easily overlooked, easily solved
Lastly be sure to make their first day more comfortable with this easy hack: soften their shoes with some moisturiser! Massage it into their new shoes, especially around the ankle. They will feel more comfortable to wear and lessen the whole painful experience of back to school. Sounds very indulgent but my kids loved it. 😊
With a good bit of planning — and with you as their calm and collected guide — your kids will be better able to approach the new school year feeling prepared, excited and ready to get learning!