The start of every new school term stirs up bittersweet feelings for us. My daughter recently expressed, “Mom, part of me is looking forward to going back to school to see my friends, but another part of me wishes that the holidays won't end so soon.”
If your children have spent their holidays enjoying extended family time, slow mornings sleeping in and a more relaxed academic routine, then investing some effort to help them ease into the new term will definitely help them get back into the groove.
Talk, talk, talk
Apart from buying necessary school supplies, taking them for haircuts and trimming their fingernails, merely talking about the new term has helped my children to be mentally prepared to go back to school.
These conversations also give us the opportunity to find things to look forward to as we chat about who and what they miss most about school, such as their favourite subjects, friends and teachers.
If you find your child feeling anxious about starting school again, encourage them to voice out their worries and fears. This is an invaluable opportunity for us to listen to their concerns, provide reassurance, and if need be, empower them with the tools they need to address some of those anxieties.
Keep the conversation going even into the new term as this will enable us to encourage and motivate them along the way, as well as keep track of how they are coping with school.
Keep the conversation going even into the new term as this will enable us to encourage and motivate them along the way.
Make a list and check it twice
I have had enough instances where my child tells me the night before school restarts that they have unfinished homework, to know that it is best to avoid such surprises at all costs.
One way to do so is to do a quick check of the student handbook and make sure all the homework has been ticked off. Also, try to get the kids to pack their bags at least two days before school reopens.
We make it a point now to make a checklist of the work that needs to be done and handed up so that we can tackle it during the break. Of course, a piece of homework may still fall through the cracks but at least our children are aware of their work responsibilities during the holidays.
A good night’s sleep
During the holidays, we tend to relax our children’s bedtime routines and timings. (With the older ones, we even allow them to set their bedtime, especially if we don’t have anything on the morning after.)
4 or 5 days leading up to the new school term, we try our best to cut down on late night activities and make it a point for the whole family to wind down and go to bed a little earlier.
Make it a point for the whole family to wind down and go to bed a little earlier.
This simple tweak not only helps the children slowly ease back into their early mornings but also helps us parents who have to wake up just as early to send our children to school because insufficient sleep will also adversely affect my own ability to function during the day!
The night before school, we get our children to set their alarms, lay out their school uniforms, shoes and socks, check that their school bags are packed and wallets topped up.
We make an activity of packing lunch boxes together and filling them with my children’s favourite snacks so that they have something to look forward to in school.
Whenever time permits, I would sneak in a note of encouragement topped off with a funny joke or riddle (because my daughter has a funny bone) into their lunch boxes for a little surprise when they open their boxes at recess.
Saying goodbye to the holidays and hello to a new school term is never easy but some preparation, adjustment, and a sense of humour will go a long way to minimise stress and give our children the confidence they need to face their schooling days.
Have fun with these ideas and have a fruitful school term ahead!
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