Six weeks sounds like such a long time, doesn’t it?
But suddenly, here we are at the start of a new term and parents around the country are making a list and checking it twice (regardless of whether their child has been naughty or nice this summer holiday) to make sure they’re prepared for the first day back to school.
Here are a few tips to make that first week back more bearable.
1: Check School Uniform
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how much a child can grow in one summer holiday. All that fresh air and adventure can leave them with too-tight shoes and trousers swinging above their ankles.
Before the first day, take a look at all of their uniform and have a trying on session to see what fits and what doesn’t. There are tonnes of bargains to be had in supermarkets if you need to stock up on anything.
Buying shoes always seems to cause the most panic for parents. If you haven’t already been to a shoe shop to get your child’s feet measured, make it a priority before they return to school.
2: Timings for the First Day
Don’t be caught out by a surprise INSET day. Many parents have had to do the walk of shame back home because they’ve turned up a day early. Lots of schools can choose their own training days so don’t assume that every school will start back at the same time.
It is easy to get caught out by changes to timings at the start of a new year. Your school may open earlier or later to help reduce the bustle or you might find year groups have different starting times.
Which leads us on to…
3: Paperwork From School
That newsletter you got back in July and stuck on the fridge? Now would be a great time to glance through it to check for important dates and information.
Many schools now upload all important documents to their website, so you might find useful information for going back to school there.
Your school website could show you:
- School uniform requirements
- What equipment children should have with them
- How to order school lunches
- Any payments you might need to make
- How the school day runs
- Trips and clubs
4: Buy Healthy Snacks
In all the excitement of going back to school, this can seem like a small concern. But, your child is going to be hungry. Really hungry.
Try to keep the first few days free to relax after school and buy as many healthy snacks as you can — you’re going to need them. The NHS Change for Life website has fantastic ideas for making healthier choices if you’re looking to reduce sugary treats.
5: Talk About Their Feelings
Lots of children will be filled with excitement about going back to school. For others, it is a time of worry and stress. Allowing time to talk can be a great way to find out what might be troubling your child.
Don’t assume you know what they are worried about and try not to put concerns into their minds. If you say, “Are you worried that it will be too busy at playtime?” the chances are they will start to worry about it.
It can be tempting to try to remove problems for them, but it is important that your child learns to deal with small worries. Instead, let them talk to you when they feel ready and listen carefully. Ask them, “How can I help you with this problem?”
It is completely normally for children to feel anxious at stressful times in their lives. You might spot signs that they are feeling anxious even if they tell you they feel fine.
Look out for:
- Difficulties sleeping
- Waking in the night and nightmares
- Bed wetting
- Irritable, tearful or clingy behaviours
- Chewing on clothing, toys or fingernails
- Lack of confidence
- Difficulties concentrating
Most of these behaviours normally go away by themselves once the first few weeks of school have passed. But, if you are concerned about your child’s anxieties, you can read more on the NHS website or contact the Young Minds’ free parent helpline on 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am-4pm).
Making Back to School a Success
A great start back to school can be achieved with a little bit of planning and organising. Make sure you know the details of the first day and, before you know it, your child will have had a fantastic start to their new school year.
What tips would you give parents for the first day back to school?
If your child is beginning their Foundation Stage year, check out my Starting School series to make sure they are ready to learn.
Hi, I’m Helly a UK teacher turned writer, using my love of learning to create clear, accessible content. I make the complex seem simple with blogs, articles and curriculum content. You can check me out at hellydouglas.com or connect on Twitter or Instagram.