Starting school can be daunting, regardless of whether you’re just starting primary school or you’re a seasoned year 9. You might get teachers you’ve not met before or you might be moving schools entirely – it’s scary stuff! But, there are lots of ways you can help your child settle into the new school year.
It can be really beneficial to create realistic routines for kids to follow, particularly as starting school adds more structure to their lives compared to the summer holidays. Ultimately, starting a new school year is fun but a challenge for both the kids and the parents, so check out some useful tips below that will help ease your child into it!
Keep their mind agile with regular reading time
It is well known that reading has countless benefits for children and teenagers, not least limiting their screen time! Whilst some kids are born bookworms, others might be a bit more hesitant, making it all the more important to plan regular reading times into their new school schedule.
One way of motivating reluctant readers to pick up a book is to use personalised books, like the ones available here. By having their name featured in the story, they are far more likely to be interested in the book and reading. Regular reading is a great habit to develop early on, as it is easy and simple to implement, plus you never know, they might become the next John Grisham!
Designate a particular place for them to keep their new school things
One of the most worrisome parts of the new school year as a parent is your child forgetting an art project or asking for food tech ingredients an hour before school starts. Or, even worse, them losing the hideous pink sparkly pencil case they spent all summer talking about. That’s why Apartment Therapy has come up with a great tip: create a good spot for your kids to keep all their rucksacks, workbooks and planners, so they never lose anything again!
This space is probably best near the front door, but whatever works for your household. If you can help your kids develop the habit of coming home and putting all their things in one place, they will struggle to forget things and hopefully they’ll be reminded of anything they needed to do when they got home.
This will also make your life easier when leaving in the mornings, as you can double-check they have got everything they need for the school day!
Create a plan for the afternoon once school finishes
Your children might be used to doing whatever they wanted to during the summer holidays, so they’re probably going to come home from school and instantly run off to play or watch TV. This is why it is important to plan ahead to the afternoons after school, so they continue following a structured day and get things done!
It all depends on the child, of course. Some kids will need time to themselves after school to process and unwind before starting homework, whereas other kids might be more productive with their homework straight after school whilst they’re in the right mindset. Schedule time for relaxing or doing homework and be strict with following it, so they understand the importance of being productive.
Stick to an early bedtime
With the after school schedule in mind, it’s crucial to factor in an early bedtime for your children. It might not always seem like it, but school is mentally and emotionally draining, making sleep more important than ever. If you get them into the habit of getting to bed early, they’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready for another hard day of school.
Everybody needs different levels of sleep and this changes a lot as kids grow up, as Active Kids explains here. When your child gets a bit older, try having a discussion with them about a reasonable bedtime that will ensure they get plenty of sleep. This will help make sure they stick to the bedtime chosen by them, as opposed to a specific bedtime that has just been forced onto them.
All these habits are essential for making life easier for both your child and you when starting a new school year, so give them a go and see how it goes! With all the ups and downs of lockdowns this year, it’s good to create new habits and routines for your child so they can get used to the structured timetable of school and see themselves flourish and succeed in all their classes!