After the summer break, it’s time to get ready to send the kids back to school. We become used to relaxed mornings, fun outings, seeing friends and family, reading a lot, and calm afternoons. It’s been great to unwind without the school routine, but back to school is fast approaching! Here are some tips to make the transition from the holidays back to school a little easier for you and your family.
Roster/chores – get organised
To help you and the kids used to a routine again, you can put a whiteboard in your kitchen or dining room. You can then write lists on it that include:
- wake up time: what time they need to get out of bed (they’ll need a clock in their room or a watch)
- chores: who needs to do the chores each day, for example, load and empty the dishwasher, clear the table, put out the recycling, feed the pets, help with dinner, housework, and so on
- morning routine: what needs to be done each morning before school, for example, chores, have breakfast, clean teeth, brush hair, put on sunscreen, make beds and tidy room, get dressed and put shoes on, and pack bag with lunch, drink, jacket, hat, stationery and books needed
- after school routine: what needs to be done each afternoon after school, such as unpack their bag, after school activities, and homework
- night time routine: what needs to be done each night before bed, for example, chores, shower, clean teeth, make lunch, and so on
- bedtime: what time they need to go to bed and how long they can read before going to sleep. Start to adjust sleeping and waking times back to the school routine a week or so before school starts.
There can be a lot of detail on the whiteboard. My boys like this idea as it’s clear what they need to do. It helps me too as I can direct them back to each list. Often they say they are finished and I ask them to check the list is complete, and there’ll be one or two things still to do!
This time of year is a good time to review the amount of pocket money your kids get. I tie in pocket money to the whiteboard – if the boys do their chores and stick to their routines each week, then they get pocket money.
To encourage a positive attitude towards activities such as after school sports and swimming lessons – if my boys don’t whinge about them, then as a reward once each fortnight, I let them choose the takeaways they want. There’s a lot less whinging in my house now!
Plan ahead to make sure you have everything you need a week or so before your kids go back to school.
- Buy the stationery they need and label it with their name.
- Book haircuts.
- Check if they need new shoes, togs, a tog bag, or clothing.
- Buy the school uniform if required.
- Make sure their schoolbag is in good repair and big enough for them.
- Check they have a lunchbox, drink bottle, sunhat, and sunscreen.
- Label everything with their name and phone number.
After school activities
Review your after school care requirements and what after school activities are available. Now’s the time to:
- book your after school care for term 1
- review what regular after school activities the kids will do in term 1, for example, swimming lessons, sports, art or music or drama classes, or extra help with maths, reading, or writing if required. Book your kids into these activities. Note that schools often have sports teams, so you may need to wait until the term starts to see what days these sports are on and then put your child into a team.
Keep track of school paperwork
It’s a challenge to keep track of the kids’ activities once the term starts. Even with a smartphone and a tablet, I still need some way to control the paperwork and notices that are part of school! An A4, 1 day to a page family diary can help you to be organised:
- keep it in a central place (for example, on the dining room table or cabinet). In it, you can:
- write down the kids’ activities/times each day
- file school notices, sports notices, or birthday invitations. Note the relevant dates/times in the diary for each child and put the notice in that page of the diary
- keep track of birthdays and note in the diary a few days ahead when you need to buy presents
- keep track of play dates and appointments.
With a bit of planning, you can make back to school more enjoyable for you and your family. Enjoy term 1!
- Is your child school ready?
- Your child’s first day at school
- Making great school lunches
- First day of primary school checklist
- First day of intermediate checklist
- First day of secondary school checklist
- More articles available in the Kiwi Families Back to School in NZ section