With the new school year approaching quickly, many parents are often left with a sense of anxiety and panic about re-establishing routine and structure for their children. A long December holiday has probably meant that normal day-to-day life is out of sync and most daily routines have gone out the window! Here are 8 back to school tips to kick-start the new year and get you prepared for a fresh start:
- Get back into your sleep routine – no more late-night braais, dinners or watching television. Children need sleep for their brains to function (the research says 9 – 11 hours per night). Starting a few days before school begins will mean that your child is well rested and ready to take on the school year challenge.
- Shop for school supplies together – help prepare your child by including them in the process of purchasing stationary, lunchboxes or school uniform. Get them to help you with marking and covering books.
- Set up a homework station – does your child have a dedicated space to do their homework?
- Make an after-school game plan- Nobody enjoys the late afternoon energy slump….Does your child know what to expect after the school day and how to prepare for it? Create a visual calendar with your child and display it in a daily viewing space.
- Turn off the screens- Holidays are often overloaded with screens; TV, video games, cellphones and every other “take this and let me relax” items we can offer our children. Research shows the dramatic effect screen time has on us neurologically. Its time to sign out and turn off. Focus your time on conversational skills, family games and making meals together.
- Review school material and information- It’s time to look over the school information, make sure you have all the information that you need for the smooth running of the year, uniforms that fit, hairbands that are the correct colour and socks that are the right length.
- Get organized- Lunch boxes, school bags, nail clipping, meal preparation- are just a few small things that can seem to throw out your morning or evening solitude. Create time and spaces for these things to be done timeously and before they escalate into tantrums and hair-pulling moments.
- Set up yearly checkups-Before you know it, we are six months into the year and your child has still been avoiding the dentist. Take time now to set up those appointments, check if any vaccinations are due, hair appointments etc. Get them done now before the busyness of the year kicks in.
Through preparation and organization, you can ensure that your child will have a smooth transition to the start of the new school year.