September means it’s time to go back to school. Regardless of the age of your children, this is a big adjustment. After the free, easy days and late nights of summer it can be a challenge to get organised and settle into a new schedule. With a little forethought and planning, though, this time of year can be a positive experience for both kids and parents. Here are five tips for a smooth transition.
The key to easing into the school year is to create anticipation. Whether you have youngster or a teenager, chances are they like getting new things. So start off on the right foot with a fun shopping expedition to get school supplies. Let them make as many decisions as possible, even if it’s just picking their favourite colour of notebook. This helps them feel invested and they can look forward to showing off their purchases at school.
First day focus
Build up the first day with lots of positive talk and take the time to discuss your child’s concerns. If they’re going into a new class or school they may feel shy, or anxious about meeting a new teacher. Talk about how much fun it will be to see old friends and meet new people. Plan a special family dinner or treat for the evening of the first day. This will give your child something to look forward to and emphasise this is a happy day.
Eat for success
Food affects your child’s health, mood and even self-confidence. Packed lunches are the best way to ensure your kids are getting a healthful meal, but that isn’t always practical. If your child eats school lunches, find out what is served and try to supplement it with healthy snacks. Don’t forget, food is an important status marker for kids: it can be hard to convince your child to eat an apple if their friends are having crisps. Allow occasional treats but don’t give in to every request.
Getting plenty of sleep is important for kids and adults, which is one of the reasons back-to-school can be so tough. Try getting the whole family to bed earlier in the evenings, this way children don’t feel singled out, and you get the rest you need too. TVs, phones and tablets can be very disruptive, so set a firm curfew on electronics. If kids are bored, reading a book is a great way to wind down.
The simplest way to take the stress out of homework is to make it part of a routine. Speak to their teachers so you know about how much time they need to spend on homework and block off that time. Create an age-appropriate study space with a good chair, lighting and work surface. A snack before studying will ensure they have enough energy to concentrate, but discourage them from eating while they work. Once they finish, have them put everything in their school bag, ready for the next day. Then you can all relax, knowing you’re done!
What are your best tips for a calm back-to-school? Share in the comments!