It's very clear that back to school time can be a hard time for all the family, as you all adjust back to the day-to-day routine. Bedtime routines may have relaxed during the summer holidays, so the combination of overtired, anxious children, adjusting back to a schedule, can be stressful on any household.
So, if your child is starting school for the first time, or they are just returning to a new school year, here are some Useful Tips for Surviving The First Week of School.
Get Bedtime Back to Normal
Bedtime routines tend to waver during the extended summer holidays, so you should start to move the kids’ bedtimes closer to their normal time as soon as possible. The first week of back to school will be tiring as the family adjusts to the earlier mornings, and the kids adjust to the routine of the class day, so it will really help if everyone is well rested before they start back to school, including you as a parent!
Earlier to Rise
This may sound a bit contradictory to #1 above, but it will take everyone a bit longer to settle back into the morning rhythm, so make things a bit easier on yourself and set the alarm clock to get up earlier. Try also get the kids up earlier than normal too – it will take them a bit longer to wake up and go about their morning rituals for the first week anyhow. Plus being up earlier gives you time to deal with any dramas like lost uniforms, juice dribbled on school jumper etc., and still get you out to school in time.
Enjoy a Healthy & Quick Breakfast
With breakfast defined as being the most important meal of the day, start the day off right and ensure you and your kids have a healthy, nutritious breakfast before school/work. Skipping breakfast can make kids restless, tired, and irritable, and affect their concentration.
Create a Morning Routine with a Checklist
Getting the kids into a routine will simplify and make school mornings easier, particularly in these first few weeks of school term. You could create a morning checklist for tasks to be done as it can often be easier to get kids to follow the morning routine if they can visualise what tasks or jobs they must do.
Make Lunch Convenient
Things will probably be a bit hectic at break times initially in school, as the kids adjust to their new classrooms, teachers, and catching up with old pals, or indeed making new ones, so opt for lunch box fillers that you know they like and will eat! They can still be healthy fillers, just convenient ones!
Expect the Tiredness
And don’t be surprised if your kids are exhausted when they come home from school. Sitting in a classroom environment and concentrating for hours, can be a big change after the relaxed days of the holidays, and they will most likely be mentally and physically exhausted. So don’t plan too much for the first week back, and when they come home let them relax and recharge. So go easy too on their after-school activities for the 1st couple of weeks.
Be Ready to Feed Them Once They Come Home
With the excitement & worry possibly of being back in school, many children can often be too busy catching up with their friends to eat their lunch/snacks. So, they will most likely be starving once they get home. Try have healthy snacks ready for them once they arrive home or maybe consider moving dinner to an earlier time for the first week back to school.
Ditch the Technology
It’s best to try avoiding technology on school mornings – your kids may have gotten into the habit of TV before breakfast during the school holidays, so start to limit that in the week before back to school. And resisting technology applies to you parents too! On school mornings, listen to the radio, but don’t be tempted to turn on TVs or laptops, or check your emails/messages or social media – it’s just too distracting.
Be More Organised at Home
It can really help everyone get ready in time if you are organised at home. Ensuring that all items required for school have a dedicated space and are convenient, will help avoid any unforeseen delays like missing school shoe/bag/tie etc.
Make a space for storing school bags, lunchboxes, gym bags and uniforms at home, and make sure your kids use them correctly. Check school bags for notes that come home from school each day, and pack schoolbags and lay uniforms/clothes out the night before, to avoid any delays in the mornings.
Breathe Breathe Breathe. Well done – you have successfully survived the extended school holidays, and gotten everyone back to school in one piece! It’s okay to take some time for yourself this week if you can. Read a book, meet some friends for a cuppa, or get back to your regular exercise classes.