Starting school is such a big milestone for both parent and child. For those starting ‘school' for the first time and those returning after the summer holidays, it can be a time full of fun and excitement but it can also be an emotional or stressful time. Everyone’s back to school experience is unique, so we turned to you, our experts, for your best tips, hints and tricks to make the transition back to school as easy as possible.
Preparing your child (and yourself) for “big school”:
“Try and do all the organising a week before they head back, so it’s not that mad rush and you’re [not] in the shops with all the other parents doing the same thing. I’m a last minute person, so the earlier you can do it before that first week the better.” - Mum of 1 from St. Kilda, VIC.
“We got all the books/uniform organised at the very start of the summer holiday. So we don’t have to think about school at all until a day or two before it goes back. [It] makes holidays much more enjoyable and relaxing. About a week beforehand though I start manipulating bed time so it’s not as much of a rude shock on day one.” - Mum of 2 from Greensborough, VIC.
Get to know the school
“My tip would be to get to know the school before they start, especially start and end times, what they need to bring with them and what is expected of them. Also ask what after-school activities are on offer or close by.” - Dad of 2 from Eastgardens, NSW.
“We were surprised at how much time we actually spent at the school during their first year. It really took us by surprise, and we weren’t really organised for it. So my tip would be to ask how much involvement is expected of you so you can plan for it.” – Mum of 3 from Seacliff, SA.
Get back into routine
“We start implementing the school routine at least a week before they go back, especially getting them back on their sleep schedule.” - Mum of 2 from Bondi, NSW.
“I will start the routine about 1.5 weeks before school starts, [including] bedtime, dinner, up and breakfast, and leave to a walk/ride to school at the correct time. I do this because my daughter thrives on routine. This will then make the first day back easy plus she is over me by the time they go back to school!” - Mum of 1 from Cottesloe, WA.
Practice, practice, practice
“We practice getting lunches ready, packing their bags, and the new drop-off/pick-up run. They also wear their shoes in around the house during their last week of holidays.” - Mum of 2 from Chermside, QLD.
“My son hasn’t started school yet, he starts next year, so we have been playing lots of word and number games, reading, using building blocks and playing outside. It’s helping him start to focus on activities and work on his fine motor skills.” Dad of 1 from Glenelg, SA.
Keep it simple
“Ease up on the food they take to school. They don’t eat much during the day even though I thought my daughter would starve! Plus, don’t stress out with prepping or cooking for the school lunches. Keep it simple.” - Mum of 3 from Mosman, NSW.
On the day:
When the big day arrives, you know you’ve done the best you can to make this day as seamless as possible. And while there may be a mix of emotions, from excitement to nerves and everything in between, it’s now time to just enjoy this milestone moment with your child. Relax, take it all in and don’t forget to take pictures.
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