This year, give your kids the best possible start to the school year with these helpful hints.
1. Ease back into a normal bedtime. If sleeping patterns have gone out the window in the holidays (don’t worry … that’s what the holidays are for!) then it’s time to re-establish a routine. That first week of school will be so much less stressful if your children are waking up refreshed and raring to go. Settle into a routine about a week or so before school starts.
2. Stock up on stationery. Get your children to help you tick everything off their booklists, and maybe treat them to a new bag or lunchbox to get them excited about the year ahead. Don’t forget to pop their name on everything.
3. Get in the swing of the school routine. On the holidays, your kids might not eat at the same time as the school’s recess and lunch breaks. As the big first day back looms, try to time meals and snacks to mirror the school’s routine.
4. Agree on a plan for homework. Talk to your children about your expectations when it comes to homework and help them choose a time and place for doing it each day. It might be in the kitchen while you’re cooking dinner or perhaps they can set up a quiet space in the living room.
5. Prepare for the unexpected. If you’re juggling a career and school-aged children, then you might want to think about a back-up plan in case one of the kids falls ill at school and needs to be picked up quickly. It may be a grandparent, other relative or a family friend – most schools ask for back-up contact details in any case.
6. Make an after-school game plan. If you’re working, you’ll need a plan for where your kids go after school. There may be an afterschool program you can use, or perhaps family or friends you can call on. Sort it out now so your children aren’t left in the lurch when school starts.
7. Go on a digital detox. Let’s face it. The school holidays generally involve a lot more television, gaming and all-round screen-time than school days. Help prepare your kids for six hours of learning each day by switching off the screens in the lead-up to their first day.
8. Read the school’s info pack. Many schools send home information about teachers, uniforms, school rules and more. Familiarise yourself with it all, put all the important dates in your calendar and come prepared with any questions on your first day.
9. Get organised. Once the school year starts, a small forest of forms, notes and paperwork seems to come home with each household. Designate a spot in your house for homework, permission slips, and any other school-related papers to help you stay on top of it all.
10. Dose up, check up. School and germs go hand in hand. Give your children every chance of staying healthy by boosting their intake of fresh fruit and vegetables for plenty of immune-boosting vitamins. You may also want to schedule in a quick check up with your doctor and dentist to make sure everyone’s starting the year healthy and well.