The back-to-school season is upon us in a month!
From classroom set up and what to do on the first day of school to routines that you will want to establish during your first few weeks back and if you’re like me, the end of August and return to school is bittersweet.
You might mourn the carefree days of summer but relish getting your time back.
Making the transition back to school can be quite a change for kids and parents alike. Kids who’ve been sleeping in (ha, not mine!) now have to get up at 6 am again. Leisurely lunches eaten when hungry now require planning and packing. And homework? Yes, it’s time to start that drill too. Ugh.
But going back to school doesn’t have to be a grueling task for you or the kiddywinks!
Back to School Challenge No. 1: The Rude Awakening
After two months of going to bed and getting up whenever they want, kids need to get back on a schedule, one that often involves waking up early. How to you get them to do that?
Well, I tend to over panic buy a lot and then worry they aren’t ready but I just tell them straight up – this is the deal! School/nursery is happening.
Parents worry alot about how to get kids back on track because they feel they have to negotiate with or wheedle or trick their kids.
Back to School Challenge No. 2: The Morning Rush
For many families, the toughest hurdle is getting kids out the door on time. This is especially hard if you have to get ready for work as well.
Rushing children, in my observation, never works, yet always happens! Instead, I give them times that things need to happen by, and these times are always the same. My son starts school in September and we’ll have to be out the door at 8:45 (we livenear the school)
As with all things to do with parenting, consistency is the key to everything.
The key is to get organized the night before, with backpacks ready, clothes laid out and lunch planned (if not made). It’s important that the kids know what time they’ll be woken by mom or the alarm, what time they’re expected downstairs for breakfast and to get shoes on, and what time they’ll leave the house.
Back to School Challenge No. 3: Packing a Healthy Lunch
Sending kids to school with a nutritious lunch isn’t always easy. Although school lunches are mandated to be healthier this year, many parents still prefer their kids bring food from home for financial and health reasons.
You could pack milk in reusable plastic bottles, a sandwich (a rotating roster of ham and cucumber, cheese, turkey or ham and cheese etc) fruit (grapes, berries, an apple, orange slices, or if I’m out of fresh fruit then fruit pots) and a yogurt.
Back to School Challenge No. 4: The Homework Grind
Toughest of all perhaps, is the return of homework, which can quickly bring on whining and tears (from both parents and kids!)
I let them have some down time after school, so they don’t feel overwhelmed by the sudden onslaught of work.
Then I set a time they need to begin homework and a time they need to finish. If they want to take a break and play with toys or watch YouTube after then I allow it as their treat.
Back to school challenge No.5: Tool up.
Obtain the class supply list and take a special shopping trip with your child. Having the right tools will help him feel prepared. While keeping basic needs in mind, allow for a couple of splurges like a cool notebook or a favorite-colored pen. These simple pleasures make going back to school a lot more fun.
School supply lists also provide great insight into the schoolwork ahead. Get your child excited about upcoming projects by explaining how new supplies might be used. Let him practice using supplies that he’s not used before — such as colored pencils or a protractor — so he will be comfortable using them in class.
Back to school challenge No.6: Avoid last-minute drilling.
When it’s almost time to stop playing, give a five-minute warning. Giving clear messages to your child is very important.
Back to school challenge No.7: Chat about ‘today’s’ events and tomorrow’s plans.
While it is important to support learning throughout the summer, don’t spend the last weeks of summer vacation reviewing last year’s curriculum. All kids need some down time before the rigors of school begin. For some kids, last-minute drills can heighten anxiety.
Back to school challenge No.8: Meet the new teacher.
For kids, one of the biggest back-to-school fears is “Will I like my new teacher?” Breaking the ice early on is one of the best ways to calm everyone’s fears. Take advantage of your school’s open house or back-to-school night. Some teachers welcome phone calls or e-mails — another great opportunity to get to know each other before the year begins.
If personal contact with the teacher isn’t possible, try locating the teacher’s picture on a school website or in a yearbook, so your child can put a name with a face. If your child’s teacher sends a welcome letter, be sure to read the letter together.
Back to school challenge No.9: Tour the school.
If your school hosts an open house, be sure to go. Familiarizing your child with her environment will help her avoid a nervous stomach on the first day. Together you can meet her teacher, find her desk, or explore the playground.
With an older child, you might ask him to give you a tour of the school. This will help refresh his memory and yours.
Back to school challenge No.10: Connect with friends.
A familiar friend can make all the difference when heading back to school. You might try calling parents from last year’s class and finding out which children are in your child’s class this year. Refresh these relationships before school starts by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.
Also remember school meals are free for those up to year 2 – information is on https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals to see if you can apply! Also read up about ideas on how to go waste free and reduce plastic with food waste!