Back to School: Top Tips If Your Kids Are Going to School

This year is our 5th year of contending with the back-to-school rush. In our house, we are either super prepared, or we are sorting it all at the last minute - thankfully, I think (touch wood) this year, we are prepared!

It feels like yesterday that we dropped our eldest at the classroom door for the first time. I can still remember the emotions we felt in the lead-up to his first day. Even now, with two of my three children in school, the last week or so of the holidays always bring with them so many different feelings. 

Below are some top tips on how to prepare your children who are going to school in September.

Starting School Basics - The Practicalities

You may be worried about the fact that your child can’t yet write their own name or can’t count past 15 like the four-year-old two doors down can - but don’t stress! The purpose of school is to learn how to do these things. 

Your child’s teacher will be so much more appreciative of you for addressing the practicalities - what do I mean? 

  • Being able to use the toilet 
  • Being able to do their own coat up and get themselves dressed 
  • Being able to put their shoes on the right feet
  • Knowing how to share
  • Being able to tidy up when asked 
  • How to open a yoghurt / crisp packet
  • How to use a knife and fork 

Academically, your child will learn and thrive once in school. But right now, ensuring your child is prepared for school practically, socially and emotionally is the most important thing! 

Get a Good Night's Sleep

During the school holidays, bedtime routines may go out the window. It’s a good idea to try and get back into routine in the lead-up to school starting. 

My boys settle best when they’ve had a warm bath and put fresh pyjamas on. Once they’ve cleaned their teeth and climbed into bed, we will then we’ll read a story together before saying goodnight. 

It’s sometimes easy to forget just how much sleep plays a big part in our mental health! So getting them back into routine and having a good night's sleep is so important, especially for children who may be nervous or anxious about starting or going back to school. 

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The Night Before School Starts

As parents, you’ll probably be feeling so many different emotions, just like your child.

It’s a good idea to spend the evening before school starts getting everything ready for the morning so that you aren’t rushing around. Simple things like laying out their uniform, packing their bags, preparing as much of their lunch as possible etc., can really make a big difference - you’ll thank yourself in the morning! 

If your child is feeling anxious about their first day, getting them involved with the preparation the night before can be really helpful too! You can talk them through which order their uniform should be put on, what things they need to pack in their bags and what they’d like for lunch tomorrow. 

Doing these things together will also allow them to ask questions and open up conversations about their first day.

Talk to Them About Any Worries or Fears

Make time to have little conversations about how they are feeling in the run-up to school starting. Whether it’s their first day of school or their first day in their new year group, it’s a big day for them! We can help them to prepare for this big change by:

  • Talking to them about what school will be like. What they will do during the day. Who they will see, when you’ll be picking them up etc.
  • Make time to listen and talk to them about any worries or fears they may have.
  • Reassure them that it’s okay to feel anxious - I always tell my children that it’s okay to be scared, but remind them they are going to have so much fun! 
  • Ease them back into their normal bedtime routine so that they aren’t tired on their first day. 
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At the End of the First Day

Bring a snack / treat with you to school to give to your child.

Now, I say this because my children come out of school every single day and tell me they are hungry! If we don’t take snacks, we have to deal with grumpy children on the trip home and then for the rest of the afternoon! But also, it’s a lovely little reward to show them how proud you are of them! 

Don’t forget to congratulate yourself too. You handled the first day at school amazingly! 

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