At the start of the long summer school holidays, it can feel as if they will never end. Those six weeks stretch ahead of you begging to be filled with lots of fun activities – and 24/7 childcare. How on earth will you have the energy to plan everything and juggle the logistics? Not to mention all the extra expense.
And yet suddenly August arrives, and then before you know it it’s nearly September. Which can mean only one thing. Back to School!
Whether your child is returning to the same school or starting a new one, there are always lots of things to do in the run up to Back to School. And it seems inevitable that it will all end up in a last minute panic no matter how hard you try to avoid that happening.
So, to help you make Back to School 2023 the best ever, here are ten tips to follow which should ease the strain.
This may sound obvious, but more families than will admit have had the embarrassing experience of turning up to school at the wrong time after school holidays. Some schools have different start days for different year groups, and you don’t want to walk into school either to find it empty or – worse! – that you should have been there yesterday. So do double check.
Many schools also stagger start times on the first day of term, so you may need to go in either earlier or later than usual. Again, it’s definitely worth checking to avoid getting off to a bad start.
Part of the fun of school holidays for the kids is staying up and sleeping in later than usual. But if they go straight from this into the school routine they are probably going to struggle. So it’s a good idea to start working back into regular bedtimes before Back to School.
This can be a gradual process of Just moving bedtime a little earlier every night for the few days before Back to School. Then hopefully their bodies will have mostly adjusted and be ready for the school routine by their first day back.
Another over-indulgence for many children during school holidays is snacks and treats. Fizzy drinks, crisps, ice creams and sugary sweets are all great fun, but you may need to start cutting back on them as Back to School approaches and get them into a healthier eating regime.
Also bear in mind that once your child is back at school there will be set times they are able to eat and drink rather than continually grazing. So it’s a good idea to start adjusting to those timings for the last few days of the holidays to ensure that your child is not hungry – and hangry! – at school.
You have probably had various letters and lists about school uniform and equipment that your child will need. Make sure you check these well before the start of term to see what you still need to get. This is especially important if your child is starting a new school : you don’t want them to get off to a bad start.
So re-read the letters and lists, and it’s also worth checking the school website too for any updates. Make sure you have everything you need to avoid that last minute rush.
When you are gathering together all the school stuff, why not agree with your child where it is all going to be kept? Try and find a drawer, or a section of a wardrobe or cupboard, where everything school-related – uniform, PE kit, stationery, books etc – will be kept.
This will really help your child to be more organised in the morning, and will also enable you to keep a watchful eye on the condition of everything as the school year progresses.
School mornings often end up being a mad rush, with everyone trying to get out of the door and some items inevitably being forgotten. The best thing to do is to agree in advance the time that your child needs to leave home in order to get to school at a reasonable time. Then work back from there to agree a realistic time for them to get up, washed and dressed and have a proper breakfast.
There will be times when it is hard to stick to plan, so it may be a good idea to build in some kind of reward system for the following weekend, depending how good they have been about getting up and ready for school.
Another thing that really helps to make mornings easier is to get everything ready the night before. This will only take a few minutes but, even if you don’t feel like it, your morning self will thank you!
So get into the routine of doing these five things every night before school:
If your child will have homework to do, it’s a good idea to plan in advance when and how this will happen. Some families like to get it over and done with as soon as the child comes in from school, leaving the rest of the evening free. Others prefer to give their child a break first. There are no rights and wrongs here, it’s just what works best for you. But be consistent.
Also consider the best place for them to do homework. If they do it in their bedroom, you may want to remove their phone to avoid distraction. Or you may prefer them to do homework in the same room as you so that you can keep an eye on what they are doing and help if needed.
Agreeing all this in advance will help your child to understand the boundaries in terms of where and how they do their homework, and should help ease them back into getting it done to the best of their ability.
Many children feel anxious about going back to school, not just about the schoolwork itself, but also about friendship issues. This is especially the case if they are starting a new school. But even in the same school they will be changing classes with new teachers and perhaps a few new pupils.
It helps a lot if you show interest in their friends, and talk to them about how they are getting on. If they have made one or more new friends it may be worth trying to get in touch with the parents to arrange a few after school activities.
Also be watchful in case there are certain pupils who are being unpleasant to them. If you suspect there is any bullying going on, it’s important that you get in touch with the school to discuss your concerns, so that they are aware and can keep an eye on things.
Once Back to School has happened, why not have a family celebration? It’s important to acknowledge that a significant milestone has been passed, and that together you have navigated through it successfully as a family.
It’s also good for you all to have family time and fun together during term time as well as school holidays, so that the new school term doesn’t seem so bad after all. So do something fun together at the end of the first week, and why not try to arrange family time on a regular basis throughout the school term.
Good luck with your Back to School! We hope that this article has been helpful in suggesting ways that you can make things easier for both you and your child, and helps you to make Back to School 2023 your best ever.
And remember to check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from direct lender Minty Loans.