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Getting back to school: what you can do to help your child get ready

Whilst as parents, some of us might be thankful or even give a quiet sigh for September coming back around again, we are also faced with the challenge of getting our children back in that mindset for the return of the school year. Whether your child is starting a new school, or going back to their current one, we are sharing with you our top tips on what you can be doing to help get your child ready for September. 

  1. Get your child back into a routine

During the holidays children and young people are generally given more freedom. It's their break from school, and that quite often means their break from a proper routine. By reintroducing boundaries and schedules back into their life, this can help them to get back into that mindset that the start of term is approaching and they'll need to be on 'school timings'. So what does this mean? No more late nights, or at least a gradual reduction in what is an acceptable bed time. Could the be getting up earlier in the day? The need to sleep is much greater for teenagers, and more often than not during the holidays late nights and lie ins are a key feature. 

It's important to touch upon routines and eating regularities here too. At school there are designated break times where young people are granted access to food. By limiting snacks and trips to the cupboard in the weeks leading up to the start of term, you can introduce some regularity into your child's eating pattern, not too dissimilar to what they'll expect at school.

     2. Talk to them about their school

Whether your child is starting a new school or going back to their current one, engage in conversation with them about their school experience. Who is their teacher for next year? Do they know what they'll be like? Are there any subjects they are really looking forward to next term? You could engage them in conversation about what they enjoyed last year, or what they'd like to do after they finish school.Be enthusiastic about going back to school, after all these are arguably some of the best days.

     3. Get a head start on learning

Encourage your child to start learning ahead of September. Look at the curriculum map for your child's new year on your school website and get a good feel for what they'll be studying during the first term. It's a good idea to boost learning through trips out to local museums or interest points, whether you do these obviously or subtly. Have a look and see if there is a reading list and see if you can find any of the books at your local library as a summer read for your child. With younger children, introduce learning as games you can play together in the afternoon. These could be numeracy or literacy games, perhaps even art or design! This will also help them get used to doing homework again.

     4. Reduce screen time

Try to suggest alternative activities to playing games or watching videos or television programmes. This will encourage productivity and help to break any patterns of prolonged screen time. You could do a crafts afternoon, or creative writing session. Perhaps even set your child a challenge to complete that involves creative thinking or orienteering outside. 

     5. Go shopping together

Take your child shopping a few weeks before school starts and talk to them about what they'll need for the new school year. It may be stationary, or uniform, or there may be something specific for any classes or clubs they intent to join. Engage with them about their school lunches. Ask them what they'd like in their school lunches, helping to introduce the idea you are thinking ahead and that the summer holidays are coming to an end.