Another new school session is already bearing down on parents with less than a week or two for their kids to resume.
Most parents are experiencing mixed feelings, on one hand anticipating the first day of school and on the other, calculating huge school bills that need to be paid.
However, before you jump for joy, remember that back to school also means resuming your early morning duties of getting the kids ready for school, packing lunch and loads of homework to boot.
To prevent any last-minute hassles and stress, here are a few tips to help you transition seamlessly into “back to school” activities.
INTRODUCE A BEDTIME ROUTINE
At the minimum, a week before school starts, get them back into an earlier bedtime routine and wake them at the time they will need to get up for school.
This will help them get used to the routine and reduce any arguments that may arise on the first day of school and even on subsequent days.
REMEMBER THE EARLY TO BED, EARLY TO RISE FORMULA
The night before the first day of school let them go to bed very early. If normal bedtime is 8pm, let them sleep at 7.30pm.
You may have to tuck them in bed and remove any distractions that would prevent them from falling asleep.
According to the sleep foundation, preschoolers (3 to 5 years) are recommended to sleep between 10 to 13 hours daily while school-aged children (6 to 13 years) are recommended to sleep between nine to 11 hours daily.
Waking up early in the morning should be a breeze if they have a good night’s rest.
Now is the time to check and read all the emails and messages from your child’s school that was earlier ignored.
If you have your inbox or Whatsapp chat loaded with unread messages, take time to sort the mails and message for the ones that have to do with your kid’s school. You may find very important information that you may have missed.
PREPARE FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES
One thing you don’t want to deal with is anxiety. Don’t let the back to school rush get you in a fluster. Start now to pick up on all school supplies – snacks, stationery, lunch bags, school bag etc.
Drawing up a timetable for your child’s snacks and lunch will help you be more in control of what your kid eats and drinks at school.
BACK TO SCHOOL CLOTHING
Go over your children’s clothing now. Kids grow and increase in size just as they play also.
So of course, you would most likely need to do a random check for tears and determine if the kids can still conveniently wear them and be comfortable in them.
Whether you are buying new school wears or patching things up, it’s good to tick that aspect off as soon as possible.
Don’t forget a trip to the barber or hair salon. Do not leave this to a day before school as you may be swamped with other activities.
‘WAKING UP THE BRAIN’
After “weeks of fun” spent during the long holiday, your child may struggle to get back into the mood for school work.
To counter this, two weeks before school resumes, introduce worksheets, reading and writing activities to your kids to help them prepare for academic work.
There are learning games online that can help kids “wake up the brain” and put them in the school mood quick.
NEW TERM GOALS
Review their last term assessment reports and results to determine areas to work on with their class teacher and have a discussion with your child.
If they are starting a new school, you can have conversations with your kid’s new teacher on the areas of improvement and realistic expectations.
SCHOOL DAY ROUTINE
When school actually starts, plan out school day routines. There is a time for everything including a time to wake, eat, go to school, do homework, house chores, play and go to bed.
Preparing all the items your child will use for the next day the evening before, will bring order to your life and save you time and a whole lot of stress.
Don’t forget to double check all the arrangements you have made for carpooling, or school bus pickup and drop off, where applicable. Planning for after-school activities well ahead of time will also be helpful both for you and the kids.
ALWAYS HAVE EXTRAS OF EVERYTHING
Often time, we don’t get to remember all the things we need for school supplies and even if you miraculously ticked everything on your list, you’re still not safe.
For every item that often gets damaged or missing, you should consider buying extra.
This will help you minimise worries in course of the year when you may likely need it, and it will also prevent some eleventh-hour rush when they have an event coming up the next day.