The summer is over and that can only mean one thing. X-Factor’s back on…oh and the kids are finally back at school…OK, so that’s two things. After 6 weeks without formal education, your children were either itching to get back to school and see their friends or they were dreading the very thought of it. Going back to school can be a very stressful time for children and parents alike, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve got some great tips for making the end of the summer break a time for happiness and calm, rather than frustration and last-minute panic.
If the start of this school year was also their first time in full-time education, then children will have been naturally nervous about what’s ahead and, as a parent, you’ll be equally apprehensive about what’s in store for them. The first tip is an obvious one, but may just be hardest one to complete. Don’t worry. It’s easier said than done for sure, but it’s something you and your children can work on long before the big day arrives and long into the school term.
Don’t wait for the first day of term to arrive before putting plans in place. It’s a good idea to start practising the routine that school days will ultimately create. One or two weeks (or a few days for shorter holidays) before school starts, get your child to sleep and also awake at the time they’ll need to be for school. This works equally well for the return after summer break as it does for the mid-term breaks, Easter and Christmas. Establishing a routine is going to be key to success. If it’s their first time, try a few ‘dry runs’ to get them used to where they’re going and how they’ll get there. This familiarity will help them settle and remove any mental barriers they will naturally build up in their mind. This will also work if your child is moving to a new school where the surroundings will be unfamiliar.
Routine will also be key for you, as a parent. It’s a great idea to get into the habit of doing your ‘parental admin’ work the night before. This will eliminate the early morning, last-minute rush, looking to find missing water bottles, rogue socks or vanishing school books. Each evening, once the kids are in bed, make sure you have everything they need for the next day. This can include preparing breakfast or laying the table at least, gathering dinner money (or packed lunches), signing any forms that need to go back to school, ensuring their uniform is clean and fully assembled, trip money (exact change is always easier) is arranged and any homework is completed, checked and signed. It might sound like a lot, but it will soon become second nature.
Children get homework much earlier in their school life that you used to. Even if it’s just reading a book with a parent, children will be expected to bring a little work home with them to consolidate their learning. Every parents wants the best for their child, it’s only natural, but with the demands on parents from the family, work and having their own spare time to enjoy hobbies, finding the time to help out can be just as tough. If this is you, one tip that may help you enormously would be finding a private tutor to supplement their education. The amount of work children are expected to know in readiness for the increasing number of tests and exams can seem daunting for them, so having a trusted tutor to help them through is often the best way to ensure success. If helps them learn and it saves you time. Two things we all need more of.
However busy your social calendar might be, children will often have more things going on than you do. Our final tip is to know their school diary as well as they do. Be prepared for tomorrow’s show-and-tell and any extracurricular activities they may have. Write yourself a list if it makes things easier for you. Try and include everything on the list including those things we’ve already mentioned, even if it isn’t needed every day. Make it dynamic so as new things crop up, you can add to it. This will keep you one step ahead of the game and one step closer to sane.
When going back to school, if they’re ready, you’re ready too…..at least until half-term!