Getting ready for a new school year can be daunting. To make the process a little easier, we’ve provided some tips to help you prepare your child for the new year — whether they’re starting school for the very first time or returning after the summer break.
Start talking about the school year
The end of the summer break may see the arrival of the post-holiday blues, but this can be combatted with getting your child excited about the new school year. One way to do this is to begin talking about school well before the first day back. You might ask them what they’re most looking forward to (such as a subject they’ll be studying), which teachers they hope to have or even just discuss practical arrangements such as transport.
Get organised well in advance
There are dozens of things to organise before the first day of school, from purchasing stationery, uniforms and school shoes to arranging after-school care, signing forms… and the list goes on. Starting early means less stress for you, but also gives you an opportunity to get your child to look forward to heading back to school — especially if they’re involved in the process. For younger children, this may mean assisting with labelling of belongings, while older children can draw up their own class timetables or colour-code their exercise books and subject folders.
Reintroduce your child’s normal routines
If your child has specific routines during the school year, it’s a good idea to reintroduce these before the first week of school. This will help ease them back into their normal schedule while also ensuring that their first week back isn’t too overwhelming, especially if after-school activities are thrown into the mix. It’s especially easy for sleeping and eating patterns to get out of kilter over the summer holidays, so it’s important to start encouraging normal sleeping and eating habits.
Consider your child’s needs and concerns
If your child is starting school for the very first time, starting at a new school, beginning secondary school or just feeling a little anxious, you may need to take a few extra steps before their first day. This may include things like sitting down to discuss their concerns about starting school (perhaps explaining how you dealt with these difficulties yourself or involving older siblings in the discussion), staging trial public transport runs (for older children) or schoolyard walk-throughs (for younger children), and organising playdates or catch-ups with your child’s friends who will be attending the same school.