5 Tips for a great transition back to school

We all know that the transition back to school can sometimes be a rocky one. After all the late nights, beach holidays and general free play, getting back into the school-day routine can be a shock to the system for all involved. School lunch boxes, uniforms, books, bags and all the school paraphernalia gets dragged back out and everyone gets jolted back into the reality of regular life once again….

So how do we make the transition a positive one whether it be for youngsters just starting out at school, or older school kids returning for another year?

Here is a list of 5 things you can do for a smooth transition….

1. Set-up the school day routine – whilst this may seem boring and regimented after a summer of fun and freedom, it is super important that kids understand that special rules and routines apply to school time which may otherwise be relaxed over the holidays. Creating a simple and structured morning and evening routine for your kids to follow, will ensure that everyone knows what’s expected of them at the crazy ends of the day. For the first timers at school, this will be invaluable in setting up their introduction to school life. For the older kids, it will ensure they are independent in carrying out all their daily tasks. One thing I cannot stress enough is consistency….always send the same message and make the routine work for you all. For example, if TV is only allowed after breakfast has been eaten and teeth brushed, then maintain consistency with this rule and your children will be heading off to school with a full belly and fresh teeth every day!

2. Focus on sleep – a great starting point to getting the kids back to school in top form is to ensure they get plenty of sleep! Whilst holidays bring lots of social occasions and relaxation of bed times and routines, it is important to refocus our attention on sleep as we head back to school. Sleep is one of the most important times of your child’s day. During sleep, the brain actively lays down the connections for learning, growing and motor skill development. Everything that your child learns during their day at school and at play, is reinforced during their sleep. Literacy, numeracy, language, creativity and physical activity adaptations…so much of their learning is cemented during this time that chronic sleep deprivation may significantly hamper their cognitive and physical development. By focusing on your child’s sleep hygiene – comfortable sleeping conditions, regular bed time, ensuring they have enough sleep every night – you will maximise their potential to thrive.

3. Make the school yard fads work for you – the return to school means the return to the constant battle of the newest and sometimes craziest fads sweeping the school yard. Whether it’s the latest Shopkins accessory, loom bands or footy cards, your child will undoubtedly bug you constantly for all the associated bells and whistles. So the best way to make the school yard fads work for everyone is to set up a reward or pocket money system in your household. Reward Charts are a terrific way to get younger children to work towards achieving their rewards. Work out what behavioural skill they need to work on eg. communicating nicely with “pleases” and “thank you” and no whinging and whining. Each time they display the positive behavioural trait, they earn a star for their chart – when they reach the end of the row, they get their reward…be it their footy card pack or whatever they choose. Alternatively, a well-structured pocket money system can be just as effective for older kids too. Each week they earn their pocket money and can put it towards whatever they choose…or wait till they can save up for that awesome lego toy or batman costume!

4. Set-up your child’s weekly schedule – Along the same lines as setting up daily routines, it’s also important to set-out your child’s weekly schedule in a clear and visual manner so they know from the outset what their week looks like. What does their school schedule look like – on what day do they have PE, art and music so they can remember to take their musical instruments and other specialist equipment? When do they have swimming, ballet/dance, tennis and other extra-curricular activities before and after school? Having this clearly laid out will ensure everyone in the family knows exactly what is required on what days and when the busy parts of the week will be so they can prepare well in advance to take the stress out of the moment.

5. Organise yourself – not only should your child be organised, but it’s super important that you too are organised to make sure the household runs smoothly and the kids feel at ease. Ensure your work and child-minding arrangements are in place well before the school term begins and have a clear plan as to how you’ll shape your family’s week. By having a clear and simple outline of the family’s weekly schedule on the fridge, you will always be sure that drop-off and pick-up responsibilities will not be forgotten, meals and grocery shopping can be planned in advance and child-minding responsibilities are clearly set. This way your kids will feel secure and comfortable in their home environment which is one giant step towards developing happy & confident kids at school.

Monkey & Chops truly believe that following these 5 tips will put you and your children in a great position to get the school year off to a great start! We live and breathe this stuff with our own families and have tried and tested all of the resources that we recommend so that we can help other busy families just like us!

For more information on how to set-up any of the systems and schedules listed above, visit our product pages or watch the instructional videos on how to use our organisational resources for kids:

Daily Routine Chart
Weekly Activity Planner
Reward Chart
Chore Chart