Beat the back to school blues

back to school

After being in “go slow’ mode over the holidays it can be a challenge getting the kids, not to mention yourself, excited about going back to school. With a new teacher, classroom, classmates, and year of new learning experiences ahead, it’s important that children start refreshed, relaxed, and motivated.

Rather than give the kids whiplash by jumping straight from leisurely holidays back into the school routine, try easing the kids back into some semblance of structure before the term starts.

A little organisation in the week or two before school starts can make the process of easing back into school much easier, for both the children and you!

1. Morning routine and schedule

Don’t wait until the first day of school to get your morning routine back on track. Start waking your child at a normal school-day wake-up time the week before school returns.

Get kids back into the habit of eating breakfast and getting ready before they go off to play. Setting up a visual routine-chart can be a great way of prompting this behaviour for younger kids.

2. Re-establishing bedtime

Getting up on time is a whole lot easier when a child has had enough sleep. My kids have been going to bed later and later as the holidays progress. Use the week before school starts to re-establish your school term evening routine and appropriate bedtime.

3. Switch off technology

Get ready for a busy school year by cutting back on the amount of time your child is watching television, using the computer or gaming, in the weeks before school goes back. By switching off technology, children are forced to find less passive, more constructive ways of spending their time. Switching their brains back on before they enter the classroom is most definitely a good thing.

4. Get sorted

If all of last year’s schoolwork came home and was promptly shoved into a corner somewhere whilst you prepared for Christmas, take some time now to sort through it with your child. Talk about their experiences and achievements as you sort. You might find that this process helps them to talk about both positive and negative feelings they have about school, providing you with valuable insight for the year ahead. Decide together which pieces of schoolwork to keep, and put together a scrapbook or binder as a tribute to the year that was.

5. Schedule play dates with school friends

Often children lose contact with school friends during the extended school holiday period. Try to make a priority of scheduling play dates in the lead up to school so that your child heads off feeling more socially confident. This is one back to school tip your children are sure to love!

6. Is everything ready?

Involve your child in selecting items for school, checking off their book list, and labelling school supplies, so they are familiar with their own belongings. This can help to build excitement about school and will hopefully have the added benefit of encouraging responsibility.

There’s also loads of fun school gear for kids to help get them excited for back to school. My boys going into Year 4 and Year 2 both love Smiggle – they’ve got cool collections for boys, as well as girls. The football and zombie collection are our faves and you can get matching everything from pens and pencils to headphones, lunch boxes and library bags.

fun back to school stuff

7. Making space for homework

Have your child help you to set up a dedicated homework space stocked with stationery and other items that they may need to complete their homework.

8. Preparing emotionally

It is important that every child feels positive about returning to school. Sensitively talking to your child about their thoughts, feelings, expectations and concerns for the year ahead is an important part of preparing them for the transition into a new class group and grade. It is important to do this without making them overly anxious or too excited. Too much stress and anxiety affects a child emotionally and physically in the lead up to the event, and too much excitement…well, then it becomes ALL you hear about and you’ll have no chance of them going to bed easily the night before school starts!

When talking with your child about the year ahead, consider:

  • Talking positively but calmly, and as part of everyday conversation.
  • Talking positively about any differences that you know of between this new grade and the previous one.
  • If your child experienced difficulties the year before, reassure them that each year is a new year with a clean slate and new beginning.

If you know who your child’s teacher will be, use their name in conversation and talk with your child about what he/she already knows about that particular teacher. Always be positive about their teacher when talking with your child.

Really listen to your child as he/she talks about going back to school. If you sense that they have any concerns about the teacher, the other students, or the workload, talk together about it and work out strategies which might help them to overcome these problems.

Do you have a child returning to school this year? How are they feeling about going back to school?

This isn’t a sponsored post, but Smiggle did send us out some Football-themed items for review which my boys fought over…

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