As the long summer holidays draw to a close, it’s time to get ready to go back to school. Easing your child back into a routine after the break can be challenging, but there are a few things you can do to help ease the transition back to school.
Preschool and kindy
For children of all ages, getting enough sleep is vital. Most kids go to bed late and sleep in during the school holidays, so it should be a case of pulling their bedtime – and their wake-up time – forward. Starting this a week before school begins, in 15-minute increments, is a helpful way to ease them back into their school term routine.
Structuring the morning can be helpful. For example, try to get the boring stuff, like brushing teeth and getting dressed, out of the way first. Once they are fully ready for school, they can have some free time or do some fun things.
It is important to lay a foundation for independence in your children, empowering them to be self-sufficient. This could be in getting dressed by themselves or pouring their own cereal. To limit nagging, consider introducing some time limits – for example, “the kitchen closes in 15 minutes.”
Starting school can create anxiety for some children, so it may help to anticipate their worries before they arise. If your child struggles with separation, perhaps identify a spot beforehand where you can have a long, drawn-out goodbye without holding up the other parents.
Children starting at a new school may be especially anxious, so consider setting up a holiday play date with a child from their school or class. This will give them a familiar face when they arrive on the first day.
Enforcing a set bedtime tends to become more difficult as your child gets older, but it is very important that they get enough sleep. Try working with your child to build a bedtime routine that has their buy in.
The same applies to homework. It’s helpful to work with your child to set a homework routine and environment that they have helped to create. For example, you can decide together where to complete the homework and when to have snack breaks. Giving your child choices helps to overcome the power struggles that often come with homework situations.
When marking homework, start by focusing on what they got right. You can then move on to areas they are having trouble with.
As your child’s homework and sporting activities increase, it is important to find the time to connect. Consider a down-time for devices at least an hour before bedtime and use this opportunity to bond. It could be an activity you both enjoy, or just some time to have a casual conversation. This quality time is not only good for your relationship but helps to get their mind ready for bed.