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This is the week when kids across the UK go back to school for the beginning of a whole new school year. Many little ones will be going to school for the very first time, with parents shedding a tear whilst taking photos of their little darlings in their fresh new school uniforms for the first time. For other children, it will be the start of a new school, the giant step to secondary school where education becomes even more of a serious business.
Some kids will be starting at a new school due to the family moving home over the summer – this can be a bit of an awkward time, especially if the child feels like the new kid in the class that already has established friendships and tight groups. Whatever the circumstance, a new school year is always a fresh new start – a time for the kids to settle in as they mean to go on, doing their best to learn what they need to know to get a great education.
You can help the kids with settling in by adopting an upbeat approach to the whole proceedings, cheerily seeing them off to school and then being available to find out how it went at the end of the day. Time with parents at the end of the day to discuss their school day, what’s been happening, what their friends are up to, what they had for lunch – this is a valuable way of participating in their school life and making sure you’re up to speed with what’s going on during the day.
Family mealtimes are a great opportunity to find out what your child has been doing in school that day. Encourage little ones (and bigger ones) to join in the lively discussion about who did what that day – this is their opportunity to let you know what’s going on in their lives – who their friends are, how they’re enjoying school, etc.
This is also a great opportunity to find out if there’s anything troubling your little one, whether it’s understanding school life, squabbles with their classmates, whether they like school dinners or not – you get the picture.
During the tea time conversation talk about your day at work too – this will give the kids a good idea of what it is you do when they’re not around. They will soon understand that their school day is similar in lots of ways to your work day and they’ll be able to relate to the fact that you have a busy life too.
Families that talk about their day are usually families with great interpersonal relationships – close families that stick together, providing each other with love and support in this busy world we live in.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you to prepare your children for going back to school, which will lead to a happier household.
This is easier said than done in a busy household, but by staying calm and on top of things, you’ll be sending signals to your children that everything is under control and going back to school isn’t something they need to worry about. This will make your kids feel a bit more confident and comfortable about going back to school.
Talk about school
It’s not good to avoid talking about your kids going back to school. You’ll turn school into an elephant in the room and in turn, this will make it a more ominous prospect. Start talking about school a few days before term begins, so it doesn’t creep up on everyone and come as a horrible surprise. Your children will start to become familiar with the idea of school again and they’ll be aware that they need to start preparing.
You don’t want to be running around on a Monday morning trying to find everyone’s uniforms or pencil cases, so make sure that everything is prepared in advance. Getting your children to help organise their things and make sure they have everything they need means that they’ll feel more prepared too. Write a list and tick things off as you go, so there are no unexpected demands on Monday morning.
Focus on the Positives
Going back to school can be a daunting thought, but try and focus on the things that make school a fun and positive experience. Talk with your children about any upcoming trips they have planned at school or how they’ll see all of their friends again and will be able to catch up. By changing the concept of school into something to look forward to rather than dread, hopefully your children will find it easier to go back and have a successful term.
It’s useful to try and get back into a routine that is close to the school routine you usually stick to during the week. Your children will probably have been going to bed a bit later and obviously getting up later too during the holidays, so getting things back to normality means that school routine won’t be as much of a shock to the system. A few days before going back to school, try to gradually make bed-times and getting-up times earlier, so your children get used to their old routine again.