Whether your kids are 5 or 15, the start of the school year is always stressful. From finishing off last-minute projects to navigating new schedules, it can bring apprehension for parents and children alike. However, with a bit of forward-planning, you can help the back-to-school transition to run smoothly – meaning the whole family can feel refreshed and focused.
Summer can often feel like it will go on forever, so it can be easy to put off small tasks and bits of admin until the last minute. Instead, a few weeks before the start of term, start to tidy up loose ends like missing uniform, and uncompleted homework. This also gives you time to squeeze in any doctor’s appointments or dentist check-ups, so children don’t have to be taken out of school.
Identify any issues
Take some time to think over the previous school year, and determine if there were any issues that need to be addressed. For example, you might have noticed that your child struggled with a certain subject, or was falling out with their friendship group a lot.
Arrange to speak to the class teacher about any social problems, and put a plan in place to support your child with their academic needs.
Sort out their sleep schedule
If your child has been enjoying lie-ins until noon and no set bedtime, then getting back into the routine of rising early for school could be a challenge. To avoid feelings of grogginess and lethargy, start reintroducing a schedule. Enforce a set bedtime, and start waking them up half an hour earlier each day until you reach the necessary wake-up time for school.
Create a calendar
Pining up a big wall chart that includes every family member’s commitments can be really useful when trying to organise your time. But if you don’t have a wall calendar, don’t worry! The fridge can be a really useful place to store information about events. This includes parties, after-school clubs, and big tests for the kids, as well as important events and meetings for parents, so everyone can properly plan.
Designate a homework spot
After having a summer away from school, focusing back on studying and homework can be difficult for many children. To help them concentrate, try designating a distraction-free area of your house, away from the computer, their mobile phone, and noise.
From a corner in the kitchen to a desk in a home office, anywhere is suitable as long as it is quiet and will help a child to stay focused as they work.
Set up grab-and go-lunches
The last thing you need on a busy morning is worrying about making packed lunches. Take away the stress by prepping your kids’ lunches in advance. Separate snacks into dry goods for the cupboard and cold goods for the fridge and freezer. For the dry goods, create portion-sized servings of crackers and crisps, and stock up on pre-packaged fruit cups, trail mix, nuts, and cereal bars.
For the fridge, portion out small pots of houmous, carrot sticks and other veg, and buy yoghurts. For the freezer, prepare some meat and cheese sandwiches (just avoid anything mayonnaise based when freezing). When morning rolls around, it will be easy to just grab the pre-packaged servings as needed.
Give kids a treat
No matter how well you prepare in advance to make the back-to-school transition easier, it’s always difficult to let go of lazy summer days. Treat kids to a yummy treat in their lunchboxes with a note of encouragement to bring a smile to their faces. Or, promise to take them on a nice day out to give them something to look forward to.
Start the school year off the way you mean to go on, with a little advanced planning.