Top Tips for going Back to school

20 August 2018

Dear friend,

The adverts have started on the television, it must be back to school time... Is it me or does it get earlier each year? I don't really want to worry about it now as I want to enjoy the last couple of weeks of my holiday BUT there are definite benefits to being prepared.... As a parent and a teacher I have experience of this busy time from both sides of the fence.

My Back to School Tips

Get your children into a school sleep schedule: The idea is that children return to school refreshed after a long holiday and ready to learn but that can't happen if your children are tired from going to bed late every evening. I relax the bedtime rules when the kids are on holiday but in the last couple of weeks before school I start to tighten them up again and make sure they are well rested before school begins.

Establish (or re-establish) routines: It is natural that we fall out of routine during the holidays but try and reestablish this before you go back. Especially useful for children about to start school for the first time - ask the teacher what their routine will be and try to replicate at home with similar snack times. 

Read books: there are plenty of books about starting school e.g. Do I have to go to school?

Lay out clothes, bags etc the night before: We have a visual timetable for the big lad (autistic) it is stuck in the cupboard door and he (and I) can check what he needs and lay it out the night before saving time and stress on the morning. 

Label everything: Teachers waste so much time handling lost property. I have spent many an evening looking for new cardigans with unhappy parents...

Start a new tradition: for example, a special breakfast for the first day or a termly photo. Keep it fun!

Organise Homework: Find a place in your home for homework things and to do homework. OK I must admit I am rubbish at this, hubby is much better. Establish a homework routine. 

Talk about nerves: Some nerves are normal! But if you feel your child is too nervous talk to the teacher. 

Talk to the teacher: Notify the teacher if any major life changes such as divorce or a death in the family have occurred during the holiday.

Plan lunches: Keep packed lunches simple and don't give too much food. Are there some banned foods at your child's school? Leave little notes in their lunch box or write on their banana for snack (my boys sadly are too cool for this now!)

Develop a central calendar: keep track of all school related activities, late starts, early closings and any change in events or school events.

Get Uniform ready: Try and buy in advance. Allow for growth!

Check the gym kit: Do the shoes still fit, is it clean?

Time: Tell your child where and when you will pick them up! This is so important, especially for children who are just starting school, many young children will ask; "When am I going home?" Until they are fully settled. I have had a couple of unconsolable children who thought mummy or daddy weren't coming back. Make it clear!

Be present: Walk, drive, cycle with your child to school on the first day. Arrange to go into work a bit later if you can. If you can't don't worry - maybe leave a little video message or note or small good luck present?

Talk to your child: Ask them, if you could tell your teacher one thing what would it be?

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