Whether you're a seasoned veteran at the back to school run or a first-timer, we've put together a few hot tips to make it easier!
If your child is just starting school, it can be very daunting for all involved. Whilst they've had transition most of the time, met their teacher and possibly made some friends already, once the real thing commences, things can change. So how can you make sure both yourself and your child are best prepared for week 1?
Make sure they are toilet-trained. Whilst we understand there can be circumstances preventing this, ultimately having your child toilet trained will make things exponentially easier once they start school.
Ensure they know how to recognise their name. They don't have to know how to write it in cursive font, perfectly lined up on the page with every letter the exact same size - if they can though, hats off to you - but if they can at least recognise what their name looks like it'll make classroom activities that little bit simpler.
Encourage a broad range of friends. Heading to school for the first time can often mean that children become reliant on that one friend they instantly make, who may act as a 'safety' blanket and make them feel more secure. Whilst it is great to form a strong friendship from the get go, it can make things a bit tricky later on if their friend is ill or they get separated into different classes etc. For this reason, encourage your child to make friends with a variety of people - girls, boys, older, younger - whoever it may be, this will develop their social skills and increase their confidence as well.
Develop your school routine early. In those first weeks in particular, your child is going to be completely exhausted at the end of each week. Ensure they are getting to bed at the same time each night and waking the same time each morning. Having a schedule for the mornings can be helpful as they may find it difficult waking up and finding the energy for another full day, particularly on Thursday and Fridays. Ensuring they know what has to be done every morning before school means they are less likely to feel overwhelmed. Simple charts for the fridge can be a great way to visualise as well!
Old-Timers, you probably know how to handle it with ease, after all you've been doing the school run for years.... but if the holidays have diminished your memory, employ these quick easy techniques to make it easier for all:
Get those school supplies ready early. Work together with the kids to make sure all the supplies and books are ready for the start of the term. Don't do it by yourself. We warn you.... copious glasses of wine will be required if you tackle it alone. The kids want to help as well! They can decorate their books, sort out their pencil cases, throw out the stuff that they know doesn't work anymore - saving you heaps of time.
Find the school uniforms. Don't leave it until the day before... trust us. Make sure they fit, make sure they haven't been squashed down the bottom of the school bags all holidays covered in dirt and paint and everything else. This includes school shoes as well, don't forget about them! Kids feet grow so quickly, they'll likely need a new pair for the start of the year. You don't want to have to send them barefoot the first day.....
Make sure there is food ready for school lunches. Ensuring the kids have plenty of fruit and healthy snacks from the get go will make sure their brains are switched on from day 1, week 1. After a big break over the summer, many will have almost forgotten what its like to sit and concentrate in a classroom. The right snacks/lunches for school will make it easier for your children to engage in the classroom.
Finally, one big thing to remember for ALL parents, is to keep an eye out for changes in your child's behaviour. Unfortunately, bullying is an overwhelming issue in schools, whether its primary or high school. Withdrawing from conversation/activities, outbursts of anger, disengaged from learning, changes in academic results - these can all be signs that your child is suffering. Don't be afraid to talk to them. It can be difficult to have those conversations and you may be worried that talking about it will prompt them into acting on their thoughts, but these conversations are a must. Please take the time to sit down with your child or even their teachers if you're worried.
All the best for the 2018 school year! We hope its filled with many new opportunities, challenges, personal growth, friendships and memories.