Christmas and the New Year already seem like a distant memory, so it must be back to school time for thousands of kids.
The start of a new school year can often be a stressful time for children and families, especially if your child is starting school for the first time, or has moved to a new school, or might be transitioning from primary school to high school.
The Australian parenting website raisingchildren.net.au is an excellent resource if you’re looking for some tips and information that might help your family to make sure back to school time is rewarding and less stressful.
Preparation is the key!
One or two days before the first day of school, whether it’s your child’s first time attending school or returning for another year, make sure they have everything they will need for the start of the new school year, including a lunchbox, a hat, a water bottle, and of course their school clothes and shoes – all of which should be clearly labelled with their name for easy identification
Kids will experience a range of back-to-school emotions, everything from excitement to anxiety. Lots of love and support from the family, as well as positive messaging about how well you think they’ll do at school can help to manage those emotions.
Consistent routines around the house, especially before school – including breakfast and getting ready for going to school – are important to make sure children and everyone in your family have a good, positive and healthy start to the day.
A consistent after school and evening routine is also a good idea. Before your children go to bed, help them prepare their clothes or school uniform and shoes for the next day, so they know tomorrow is a school day.
First day and week back at school
For the first day – and week – back at school, dropping off your children at school before the morning bell can help to avoid anxiety. Running late for school, especially in those first days back after holidays, can be stressful for you and your children. Collecting them after school can also help to avoid them feeling anxious.
Your children might also need support once the new school year has started. Making after-school time special with a snack or some time to chat about their day can help. Be patient with them if they want to tell you every detail of their day, or if they don’t want to talk about it at all.
It’s also possible your kids could become quite tired after the first few days back at school, while others could be full of energy. It’s best to gauge their energy levels before undertaking any after-school activities.
Settling into the new school year
With the new school year underway, families start turning their attention to supporting their children to successfully settle into the year and their daily and weekly school routines.
This can be a little more challenging if they have started at a new school or have a new teacher.
One of the best ways to support your children is to make sure they have a positive relationship with their school through effective communication, which can lead to a much better and more comfortable school experience for them, and your family.
Talk to the teachers
Families know their children best, so talking to their school and teachers can give them a better understanding of your child’s strengths, interests and needs, as well as helping them to set some meaningful and achievable learning goals for them.
Communication with your school should always be open, honest and respectful. Working together in partnership will ensure the best possible learning experience for your children.
There are a number of ways you can effectively communicate with your school and teachers including emails, phone calls, conversations before and after school, formal meetings, and communication books (an exercise book in the schoolbag that teachers and families or carers can use to share information).
Preferred communication methods can vary from teacher to teacher and school to school, so it’s best to ask your teacher which method works best for them.
Check out the Reimagine Australia website for more tips and information.