With August coming to an end, it can only mean one thing… School starts soon and it’s time to join the cohort of parents queuing for shoe fittings and haircuts before the new school year starts. It’s also a great time to share back to school tips to make life easier…
As parents, we spend a lot of time getting our children ready for school. New school uniforms, haircuts, stationery supplies… and of course the a new school lunchbox sporting the latest favourite character; it all makes for part of the back-to-school routine.
There are some other things that we can do as parents for ourselves and our children to help provide the smoothest transition into the school year though too. I have listed below a number of ideas to get the new school year off to a smooth start in your household:
Set up a bedtime and wake-up routine in advance.
Lets face it, we all break our own rules in the school holidays; especially when they extend over a period of at least six weeks in the summer.
We’ve all kicked ourselves for inflicting grumpy dark eyed monsters on ourselves on the odd occasion because we’ve allowed them to burn the candle at both ends… But hey, thats parenting; we’re allowed to break our own rules and thats what makes us fun parents.
However, school term time heralds the need for us to establish our routines again, and try our best to ensure our children get the rest that need to concentrate and succeed at school.
If possible, it’s best to establish bedtimes and wake-up times now, a week in advance of the start of school. It won’t go down well with them, but you’ll thank yourself later as by the time the first school bell rings, the family will already be on the right sleeping pattern and it will be one less worry for you.
Plan healthy lunches and snacks.
The better you plan out the meals in your home, the healthier choices you will make for your children… It will also give you an excellent chance to budget carefully as we all feel the financial pinch in September after the long holiday.
Pack protein-rich snacks and lunches, balanced with fruits, vegetables, and other wholesome foods, and you’ll ensure that your children will have the energy and brainpower to make it through their school days. They are going to find returning to the classroom routine tiring initially and your efforts will help.
Of course you will need to donate or otherwise dispose of the clothing that your children have outgrown, but you should also take the time to carefully organise what is left. It is easy to make the mistake of thinking the new school year means new everything at once; but you may well have bought new shirts or polo shirts late in the last school year that will be fine to get them started and spread the cost of replacements.
Set up a ‘school’ area.
Find a central spot to store everything related to school, including bookbags or backpacks, uniforms, lunchboxes, and and anything else school related. Try to keep this area free of clutter and other non-school items so that you can find what you need, when you need it.
Make sure that your children help you stock and prepare the area; it will make their return to school seem more like fun as they collect their ‘goodies’ and they will know where everything is when they need it.
Update medical records.
School holidays, especially the long summer one, are a time for new ailments and accidents to occur; I for one discovered that my eldest daughter was allergic to penicillin during a summer break!
Make sure teachers and administrators have a complete list of any medical concerns regarding your children, including allergies. You will also want to be sure that all emergency contacts are up to date including mobile numbers, email addresses etc.
Talk to your children about bullying.
Research shows that one in three children experience bullying at some point in their school time and in the increasingly digital world, the consequences can be extreme.
Cyber bullying is an vast area of concern, as our children can struggle to escape from the attacker; they cannot simply go indoors shut the door and leave the problem behind. All kinds of electronic devices allow messaging facilities of some description; these messages can be quickly shared and spread amongst peers.
Make sure your children understand the right way to treat their peers, and when to speak up if they see someone else being bullied. Also make sure they know when to come to you if they feel they are being bullied.
Ask your children about their concerns and other personal issues.
School starting again is exciting, but can also bring some anxiety; especially when it comes to the unknown. Take a few minutes to ask your children what they are most looking forward to during the school year, and what things may be worrying them.
By giving them a forum to express their concerns, you can help them work through any worries in advance of school starting and clear up any issues that could lead to a bumpy start to the year… Keep this ongoing though; it is a tough line for us all to define the parental line between ‘rule maker’ and ‘confidant’ but if your children feel that they can turn to you with anything, whatever the problem, you will reap the rewards as they grow up facing more adult issues.