Start the school year off the right way with our back to school advice.
Make the first day easier
Set a scheduled bedtime and wake-up routine the week prior to heading back to school
Have a chat with your kids discussing what the first day of school may or may not look like so they feel a little more prepared
If you think your child might feel anxious about heading back to school or their first day at school ask them how they’re feeling and encourage them to speak openly about this with both yourself and their teachers
If your child will be starting at a new school arrange for a visit to the school prior
Create an afterschool schedule which includes a combination of play, relaxation, study and of course healthy snacks
Create an inbox (small box or bag somewhere which is easy for you to both find) so they can pop permission slips and school notices in there
Check your kids wardrobes and donate anything they do not wear or have outgrown
Mark a calendar early on with all of the significant dates in your kids school year e.g. holidays, parent teacher days etc
Pop all of your child’s vaccination and important papers in one simple file for easy access
The night before
Encourage your kids to lay out their school clothes the night before
Have your kids pack their school bags before they go to sleep that night
Set clocks forward 10 minutes – this makes it easier to be on time
Make sure your kids (and you!) have an effective wake up alarm that works for them
School lunches and snacks
Create a meal plan for each week so you know what needs to be brought each week
Keep it interesting: The first step in getting your child to eat all their lunch is to make them excited about it!
There are so many inventive ways of jazzing up your child’s lunch. Use a thermos to keep food warm until lunchtime (mac and cheese anyone?) or turning food into different shapes is a sure fire way to keep your child interested.
Keep it cool: Keeping your kids lunch cool can be delicious too. Freeze a bunch of grapes; place them in a zip-lock bag to keep the rest of their lunch fresh and cool. Then they’ve got a snack at the end of it too! A frozen drink bottle will also act as an ice pack but melt into nice, cool water by lunch.
Do it yourself: Really impress your kids by making all their favourite treats yourself! If they have a hand in making them, they’re even more likely to eat them. You could make your own healthy chips for the lunchbox by using thinly sliced kumara, apple, carrot or tearing up kale leaves into a few small pieces - just rub in a little olive oil, and bake in a hot oven until crispy. Kids will love them!
School supplies and homework
Get your kids excited about going back to school by letting them pick their own stationary when shopping
Shop for school supplies early to beat the crowd and reduce stress on both you and your kids
Help the little ones get settled into their school routine by sticking an illustrated checklist on their walls
Schedule study blocks on the weekends before big tests and exams
Help your kids set goals for the year to get them excited about what they can achieve
Prepare a study area in your home where everything that could distract your kids are removed
Make the most of the holidays
Do something fun to diffuse this stressful time of year for the family, like mini holidays and camping trips
Get your kids involved in programs that they can do after school to keep active
Visit cultural attractions like museums to shift your child’s mind into “scholar” mode
Try apps like iHomework or MyHomeWork to help your kids organise assignments
Refresh your rules about screen time for the school year before the first day
Arrange play-dates with two or three of your kids’ friends to rebuild existing social ties
Maintain a positive attitude about summer ending and it will rub off on your kids
Let your kids know summer isn’t over by making a habit of getting outside together every day after the school day ends