Whether your child is anxious, excited, or a mix of both at the prospect of returning to (or starting) school in the autumn, preparing for the big day ahead of time will save stress and help make the new start a positive one. Below are the key things to consider getting ready before the term begins.
From personal experience, I know it’s easy to be absolutely certain that last year’s cardigan will fit….and then come the morning of the new term, you’ve got a situation on your hands as a result of a summer-time growth spurt.
Get ahead of the game by thinking about uniforms as early as possible: some stores can run low of certain sizes in the run-up to the new term. And if in doubt: buy big. A little extra room to grow in isn’t the end of the world but, if your child’s like mine, ankle-grazing trousers will not be tolerated.
Make a list of all the uniforms that your child will need. Take extra care if they are starting school for the first time, or transitioning to high school: go through the school supplied information carefully to ensure that nothing gets missed.
If you have a young child who will be going to school for the first time, having a run-through before the term begins is a good idea to help assuage any nerves by familiarising them with the uniform and the new morning school routine.
Taking your child for sight tests regularly is important, and especially so before they start the new term, in order to pick up any vision problems, or prescription changes. This is one of the key child safety tips to keep in mind ahead of the coming school year.
Consider booking a sight check for your child during the summer holidays, so that their new glasses will be ready, should they be required, before school begins again. Children who haven’t worn glasses before may feel anxious about or resistant to the idea of eyewear; however, the vast range of fun, stylish, and child-friendly options now available can smooth the road and encourage your child to wear their new specs. Online retailers, such as GlassesUSA.com, have a massive selection of kids’ eyewear, with choices to suit even the most discerning of mini-customers!
Eyesight tests are free on the NHS in the UK, and ensuring that your child can see properly in the classroom is vital for their ability to learn and engage with their education.
Perfect Packed Lunches
If your child will be taking a packed lunch to school, then thinking about how this will work day to day could pay dividends once the busy first week of school starts.
To start with, if your little one will be beginning their very first year of school, letting them choose a lunchbox or container that they like, and that perhaps features favorite TV or movie characters, can be another way of creating positivity and excitement about starting school.
Next, begin to plan the contents of your child’s weekly lunch boxes. Consider buying some of these items in bulk on your next shopping trip or when completing your online grocery order, for added convenience. Again, if your child is younger, this is something you could work on together – perhaps your child will be more than happy to eat their portion of fruit if they know, as a result, they’ll keep getting their favorite yogurt or sweet treat!
Lastly, get prepared by making sure you have supplies of sandwich bags, foil or wax wraps for food wrapping, and pick up a water bottle or flask for your child to take into school, too.
Making sure your child has all the equipment and books they need for the new school year will help make for an easier start to the term. Carefully check any letters or information sheets that have been sent from school that might list essential supplies, such as protractors, calculators, and stationery. For older children there may be set books to buy; or, if they are taking classes such as art, there could be specific materials to purchase beforehand.
Let younger kids get involved in picking out items like pens, rulers, and highlighters: consider starting a box over the summer holiday especially for school supplies, that you can add to as new items are purchased.
If this will be your child’s very first term at school, then having friendly, familiar faces in the classroom can be really helpful in settling new-year nerves. If your child doesn’t have a connection with any of the kids she’ll be starting school with, then consider reaching out to fellow parents to organize a play-date, or a communal trip to the park, so that the children can get to know each other.
If your child is already pals with one or more of his soon-to-be classmates, it could be a good idea to arrange for them to walk to school together on the first morning, in order to make the experience less of a daunting one.
Routine is King
Establishing a healthy routine, especially around sleep, is one of the best ways you can ensure your child is prepared for the new school year. Before term starts, get your child into a bedtime routine that allows them to get the recommended hours of daily sleep a night for their age group. Once this routine is established, over-tiredness, and problems with concentration, will be much less likely to be a problem when school begins.
For older children, building a set study time into the last week or two of the holidays could be a great way of easing the transition back to school, and to gear up for academic study. Establishing a morning routine, too, during the build-up to the new school year is useful in terms of practicing time management and helping to prevent last-minute panic on the first day!
Supporting Successful Learning
The better prepared your child is for the new school year, the better positioned they are to learn effectively. Preparing children by ensuring they have the uniform and equipment they need means that they can focus on their studies, making new friends, or navigating a totally new environment, with fewer distractions.
Careful preparation ahead of the autumn term can mean that, rather than a stress-filled rush out the door, the first day of school can be a happy and positive one for the whole household. And if that happy vibe hits the skids come the 4 pm‘ hangry hour’ – well. You can’t win them all.