It’s that time again: back to school! With so much to think about, it can feel like an overwhelming, brain boggling to-do list of preparing for the big day. Consider these top tips and hacks to make sure you’re all ready for the big day.
Two weeks to go…
- Check the school kit-list including stationery and decide what needs purchasing and what you can rustle up at home.
- Check last year’s uniform and purchase new uniform if necessary. Don’t leave it until the last minute – the big retailers have been known to sell out!
- Check with your child if they had any summer projects to complete – nobody needs that stress the night before school starts.
Top Tip: check re-sell groups on social media for nearly new uniform to save you a few pennies. It’s good for the environment and good for your pocket! And don’t forget to pass on your child’s old uniform, too.
One week to go…
- Do a final uniform check – has your child grown? Does a button need fastening in? Have itchy labels been removed?
- Begin setting a morning alarm to help body clocks to settle back into their new routine.
- Plan your child’s route to school whether you are driving them, or they are walking/using public transport and have an alternative route planned, too.
- Label absolutely everything! There are lots of fancy stickers and stamps on the market, but a Sharpie is just as effective. If appropriate, label with your family name so that school items can easily be passed down your family members.
Top Tip: if you’ve bought new school jumpers, turn them inside out and give them a quick wash. We tried our jumpers on a couple of weeks back and everything got covered in yellow fluff!
The night before…
- Have a bath, book, bed (or whatever your usual term-time bedtime routine looks like) and make sure children get an early night.
- Ensure all bags are packed, uniform laid out and the fridge is full of everything you need to make packed lunches (if your child has packed lunches).
- No matter how old your child is, a sweet good luck note in their blazer/back pocket will give them the confidence boost they need to ace the first day back.
Top Tip: check in with your child about how they are feeling and reassure them if they feel worried about any aspect of returning to/starting school.
Once term starts, you might like to consider these top tips:
Sleep and Attention
For children ages 6 to 12, the NHS recommends between 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night. There’s a good chance this has lowered during the holidays, which is fine, but a good sleep routine (as well as a healthy, balanced diet) can help boost children’s attention once they are back at school. Better attention and focus can lead to better learning outcomes, and as a teacher and parent, I know this is a high priority!
Don’t plan anything for the first weekend after kids have gone back to school. Children will be exhausted, and you may be getting into a uniform washing/batch cooking/lunch box planning routine too. Give yourself time and space to do everything you need to and let the children acclimatise to their new schedule.
Make sure you plan in plenty of time outside (even if it is an hour in the playground after school or a kick about in the park on a Saturday morning) to offset the sudden reduction in time spent outside and their vitamin D intake.
Navigating friendship issues
The new school term inevitably brings with it the occasional fall out amongst friends. This can be tricky for those involved but also for parents! Encourage children to talk to their peers and signpost them to teachers who can help mediate any in-school issues.
If your child is having friendship issues linked to using social media and messaging apps, you can get excellent advice and support from www.internetmatters.org
And now for the youngsters’ tips.
- If you’re starting a new school, ask a teacher for a map of the school and keep it in your pocket.
- Don’t be afraid to ask older students for help – they will want to help you and will remember what it was like being new and/or younger.
- With your grown up’s help, create a homework schedule to help you stay organised.
- Gravitate towards friends who make you feel good about yourself and bring out the best in you.
This article is written by, Holly King-Mand, widely known as the nation’s favourite English teacher, taught thousands of children online during the pandemic and has become an expert in vibrant online learning. You can find out more about Holly’s Classroom on Instagram, Facebook and at www.hollysclassroom.com.