I know all too well how stressful back to school planning can be. these top tips should help you plan better and prepare you and your child/children for the new academic year or for return to their current year.
1: Declutter: Heard of the expression out with the old, in with the new? well we are changing this to out with the tight and repurpose the old. Kids naturally get excited at the thought of getting a new wardrobe, to ensure you don’t get any push back, make it a fun try on/modelling session. Use this opportunity to get them to try on their old uniforms, see what still fits, repurpose or replace as appropriate.
2: Create the essentials list and plan your shop. I call this the essentials list because you can easily get carried away with the school supplies! trust me, been there, done that. The essentials list should include the following:
- Uniform replacements (post point 1)
- School shoes
- Backpack if needed
- Lunch boxes and water bottle where needed
- Stationery, this includes note books, pens, pencils, sharpener, eraser etc (no your child doesn’t need a million pencils)
- Text books for the new school year
- Hair accessories where needed
- Bath and body care products
- Face-mask and hand sanitiser where needed
3: Start shopping early: Two main reasons for this. Point 1; you may need to book an appointment due to Covid rules, to get your little one fitted for their school uniform. Point 2; you want to make use of discount codes, coupons, vouchers and the like. School supplies shopping can be really expensive if not managed properly. Plus you want to allow enough time for fitting, exchanges or returns.
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4: Research the class information on the school website: This could be dependent on the time of year but if your child is due to transition into a new year, you will most likely want to find out more about the teachers, the class expectations and the curriculum for the year. Start talking about the new class, the teachers, the school work, create the back to school excitement.
5: Get into the habit of using a planner: A planner is not only beneficial for managing your personal workload, family pressures and future planning, it is also a great tool for kids/young adults. Getting your child into the habit of using a planner to manage their day to day activities will ensure they stay organised and it also gives them a sense of responsibility and ownership.
6: Devise a plan for homework: Let’s be honest, the first few weeks back to school tend to be sketchy. Kids make new friends, new distractions arise and more chances of you yelling on Sunday night, have you done your homework! To minimise this, it is best you devise a structure for homework. This is where having a planner is a good idea. Carve out time everyday in your child’s planner schedule for them to complete their homework. doing this will help them understand your expectations, gives them that allotted slot to put their head down and work and also lets you know when exactly to ask if the homework has been completed.
You might also want to consider getting them a tutor, mentor or a buddy to help with homework and focus.
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7: Create and practice the morning and night schedules. Get them back to routines, going to bed early and waking up early. it can be as simple as:
Set an alarm or notification 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Setting the alarm on your clocks, alexa or other digital devises. This includes alarm for wind down before bed, time to rise, breakfast, homework and so on.
- Agree bedtime routines; bath time, dinner, brush teeth etc. Make a checklist if needed, add it to your child’s planner and ensure they follow it.
- Set and reinforce the regular school night and weekend bedtime routines
- Limit the use of devices. Phones, games and iPad are a distraction if not used for leaning purposes.
8: Set up their learning space, kit it up with fun accessories, necessary gadgets and books. Giving them a sense of ownership helps prepare them for the expectations of the new academic year.
9: Make arrangements for before- and after-school hours: This is solely down to you to make a plan that works for your household. You could consider:
- Hiring a baby sitter to help you drop of and pick the kids while at work
- Sign your kids up for after school programs they will enjoy or benefit from
- Plan in a quick catch up with your child for every day after school. it is important that you create that relationship and show interest in their daily learning.
10: Address nervous feelings: Listen, a new academic year can be daunting. This is the time to address any worries or concerns your child could have about the new year or about retuning to school.
If they feel anxious or worried, help them understand this is perfectly normal, and that you and their teachers are there to support them. Although difficult, try not to share with them any anxiety you may have.
Also bear in mind your child may be returning to a pre-existing issue from before lockdown – for example, a bullying or relationship issue. Equally, they may be anxious about coping with school work after such a long time out of the classroom. Reassure them that teachers understand the difficulties and they can expect plenty of revision and support, particularly in the first few weeks.
Bonus: Review your child’s previous report and highlight the new years expectations.
I hope you found this list useful. I would like to know how you are preparing for back to school, share some of your tips in the comments.
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