The school holidays are zooming by. Before long, the uniforms will be worn once more, and it’ll be back to school. Getting kids (and their parents) ready for going back to school can take a fair amount of organisation. If you want September mornings to be calm and ordered, and the ability to tell your ABC from your 123, then read on for the Bloss top back to school tips and hacks.
Back to school advice for the summer holidays
Let’s start with everything you need to do now, during these more chilled out summer days, to ensure that everyone (and the household!) is on top form come September. Follow this back to school advice for parents and you’ll sail through the whole academic year:
- Uniforms and shoes
They will have grown, usually more than you expect. At least 2-3 weeks before school returns, sort through their uniform, buy replacements, and plan to take them shoe shopping. Label it all and life will be much easier.
- Stationery and belongings
Make sure your child has at least two of everything, from water bottles to lunch bags. Of course, check they are bang on trend to avoid refusal tantrums when everyone is in the busy school routine.
- Soothe the nerves
It’s very normal for back to school nerves to build towards the end of the holidays. One of the crucial parts of preparing kids for back to school is to listen and learn what their worries are. Have some heart to hearts and discover what’s causing anxiety. For example, if a soon-to-start-secondary child is nervous about taking the bus, do a practice run with them. Make sure you chat (enthusiastically) about the upcoming school year so that it doesn’t come as a surprise when the first day appears!
- Get them in the swing
It’s very normal for children to return to school in September with their skills a little rusty, especially after lockdown. Don’t worry – they will have gained lots of other important life skills over the summer. However, if you want to ensure they get off to a flying start then do a little practice with them in the last few weeks. Listen to them read, practice their times tables, and task them with writing something age appropriate but fun. Start to re-establish rules, such as around electronic devices, if they’ve slipped.
- Encourage independence
The more independent your child is, the smoother term-time goes. Take steps to encourage independence according to their age. For example, encourage your Reception age child to empty their own lunchbox or encourage your Year 5 child to make their own sandwich.
- Get in the ZZZs
Chances are that bedtimes have slipped. Bring some order back to reasonable bedtimes, or your child will effectively be starting the new school year with jet lag. It’s easier to make the changes gradually.
- Get together with pals
Towards the end of the holidays, if you can, organise some play dates with their school buddies. This can help them to feel confident still in their friendships and reassured that there will be a friendly face or two when they meet their new teacher.
- Organise the childcare
If you’ve got work to get to, or children in different settings or schools, don’t think you can be in two places at once and not end up stressed. Instead, organise reliable before and after school childcare that makes life easier. Get this in place now, well before the first day. Make life easier by choosing after school childcare where homework and reading can be supervised.
Back to school tips to transform your mornings and your whole day
- The money pot
Have a petty cash box somewhere for grabbing those last minute cash requirements. Stocked with 50ps and £1 coins, you’ll never be caught digging down the sofa at 8:29 am again.
- The whiteboard
The more people there are in your family, the more important a whiteboard is. Ideally everyone should have their own column and on this you can organise who needs to be where and when. Most specifically, jot on what kit is needed.
- Make packed lunches the night before
Mornings are stressful. Ditch half the stress by packing lunches the night before and filling water bottles. Pop the whole lunch bag in the fridge and then it’s just a case of grab-and-go.
- Prep the night before
Uniforms out, kits ready, books read. Everything that needs to be done for the next day at school needs to be done the night before.
Routines make family life a happy life, particularly when school is in the mix. Sit down and work out what time you need to leave the house to be at school on time. Work backwards to create a routine. Once you’re done, shift everything 10 minutes earlier. You’ve now got a buffer zone of time for those unexpected hurdles, such as when the baby does an explosive nappy just before you leave the house! Like the before school routine, an after-school routine can help too.
- The stock cupboard
One of the best back to school hacks for parents is to have a stock cupboard or drawer. In here there should be spares galore. Spare glue sticks and maths sets, spare erasers and mouth guards. Whatever it is that your child is likely to lose and announce they need at 8:27am, try to ensure you’ve got a spare. You can then solve the problem swiftly without being late for work or school.
- Snacks to hand
Does your child come out of school hangry? If so, greet them with a snack and a drink. A quick snack on the walk or journey home can make it more pleasant for all. You’ll then be past the snack stage before getting in the door.
Remember that going back to school isn’t just daunting for your child. It can be anxiety-inducing for you too. From playground politics to academic achievement worries, school days can be challenging for the parents. It’s okay to ask for help. Your child’s teachers are an invaluable source of support, as are other parents (ideally with children in different schools if you want to avoid the angst!).
Of course, there’s always a range of parenting advice on Bloss to help you with the tough times.