After a long and lovely summer holiday children and parents often struggle to settle back into the school routine and daily demands.
For children who are starting school it can also be a huge culture shock adjusting to the new everyday demands and challenges. Here are some thoughts and ideas to help ease your child into the school routine and support your child to get the most out of the academic year ahead:
- Make sure they go to school happy, relaxed and confident in the morning by:
- Helping your child to get organised the night before, this will make the morning less chaotic, avoiding nagging, tears and guilt! The night before: get their uniform ready, homework in their book bags, PE kit packed, water bottle filled and snack in the fridge. Try not to be a DO-er for your child (I know it is so much easier and quicker to do it yourself), but support them to become independent by ‘allowing’ them to do it, with your support. Going prepared and organised to school will help them to fully focus on the day ahead!
- Bedtime routine: Kids need sleep; have a clear bedtime routine that indicates when it is bedtime, the ‘tasks’ that need to be done leading up to bedtime and when they need to be done. Have a visual chart that is easy for the child to follow and for you to refer to. No screen time for at least 1 hour before bedtime as this can interfere with their sleep patterns.
- Morning routine: likewise, agree a morning routine with your child. As with the bedtime routine, have a clear and visual system that indicates what needs to be done and when, so you can all get out of the door in a relaxed and smooth way.
- Making time for a healthy breakfast: eating a healthy breakfast together is not only a great way to start the day, but also provides energy – avoid too much sugar.
- Homework routine: depending on after school activities make a plan of when, where and how the child will complete their homework. Get them involved and ask them when suits them, where they like to do it and what works best for them.
- Have time to listen: back to school can be hard and tiring so we need to be there to listen, when they have something to tell us! Make sure you have at least 10 minutes of ‘Special-Time’ a day alone with your child, where you give them your full attention. This will give you a chance to learn more about your child’s school experiences, good and bad.
- Make sure your child has some ‘head space’ every day A day at school can be pretty full on, so it is important that they get some time to relax without pressure and expectations, time to just chill. What helps your child to relax and recharge their batteries?
- Don’t drill your child for questions at the end of the day: rather than ask ‘what did you do at school today’? Which invites the answer ‘nothing’ or ‘can’t remember’, try ‘tell me 2 things that happen at school today’ or ‘what was the best part of your day today’? This also helps them to focus on what went well and not merely the ‘bad’ part of school! Maybe you can start telling them about your day and they will join in and tell you about their day!