The start of the school year can be a tough time for you and your kids. The transition from the summer holidays back into a more rigorous routine, early starts and racing to catch the bus every morning is a shock to the system for you both – and that’s before we’ve even gotten into the worries of new classmates, teachers and of course, the dreaded yearly school supply run!
We understand that this can be a challenging time for parents and kids across the country, which is why we’ve compiled a handy list of tips and tricks to help you ease back into the school routine together, eliminating the stress of the back-to-school season for good.
Pexels / August de Richelieu
One of the most stressful parts of the back-to-school experience is the limited time you have to get everything prepared for your little one’s first day. Whether it’s school supplies, clothes or trying to manage your work schedule around pick-up times, you can make your life a whole lot easier and smoothly transition back into the school routine with a little forward-thinking and preparation.
1. Make a list of everything you need in advance
Kids have a great way of forgetting to tell you exactly what they need until the very last minute, so if you’re sick of panicked trips to the shop the night before school starts, we have the perfect solution for you!
Sit your kids down for half an hour or so and go through absolutely everything they will need for each and every subject they have this year. Save money by sorting through their old stationery sets to see if there’s anything they can reuse from the year before and make a list of all the new school supplies you need to buy. Jazz it up with a flashy pencil case to suit your little one’s style and get them excited about showing off all their new gear to their classmates.
With every year, your kid seems to need more and more supplies to take to school. Grab them a brand new backpack to hold all of their gubbins and say goodbye to squished bananas and sandwiches forever with a cute little lunch box for all their tasty treats.
Go through their wardrobe and drawers, see if they’ll fit into their school clothes and shoes for another term or two, and finally get around to throwing out all those old pairs of holey socks! Go uniform shopping a few weeks before the school year starts to beat the onslaught of last-minute mums and dads for a stress-free fitting if your kids need a new uniform.
2. Manage your schedule around your kids
As the school year is almost upon us, now is the perfect time to start planning your schedule to fit around the drop-off and pick-up times from all of the many extra-curricular activities, after-school clubs and play dates that your kids will get up to.
Make managing your schedule a breeze with wall calendars to plan out your day and avoid any of those awkward phone calls from forgetting your kid’s pick-up times! Get one with a pretty design to upgrade your office or home décor, or opt for an erasable dry-wipe whiteboard if your little one is forever chopping and changing their plans.
Managing your time in advance is great if you need to sort out a sitter, stopping any last-minute stresses to cover childcare.
Calendars are also a great visual tool to help ease your kids into a routine. Clearly map out homework time and free time to help your kids organise their evenings as efficiently as possible, and stop any tears, tantrums and ‘my dog ate my homework’ scenarios!
3. Introduce routine early
In the weeks running up to the new term beginning, start to tighten the reins on bedtimes and lie-ins to ease routine back into your daily life, making the transition from the summer holidays to school far smoother for both you and your kids.
Getting your sleeping patterns back on track and having a good night’s sleep is essential for relieving stress and maintaining concentration, and practicing those earlier starts should help to ease the morning wake-up call dramas!
Kit your kids’ beds out with brand new sheets to get them excited for bedtime and ensure a cosy night of well rested sleep for a productive day ahead. Pop some alarm clocks into your bedrooms and set them all to the same time to get used to waking up earlier, navigating allotted bathroom time for primping and preening, and having breakfast together like you would on a usual school day.
Time your walk to the bus stop or how long it takes to get to the school gates to make sure you’re on time, especially on that dreaded first day back, and let your kids know exactly when you’ll be leaving every morning so they can manage their own time efficiently.
Pexels / Jonas Mohamadi
If you’re feeling the strain of the school season looming or your kids are getting weighed down by the pressures of academic stress when they’re back to school, doing some stress-relieving activities is a great way to get in some quality time and wind down together.
We’ve come up with some fun and therapeutic activities that we’re sure you and your whole family will love to do together, whatever the weather!
1. Get some fresh air
Exploring the great outdoors and getting close to nature is an excellent zero-expense way to de-stress, get in some endorphin-pumping exercise, and tucker out your excitable tots for a great night’s sleep.
Head on down to your local park together for a long walk and a play on the swings, clear the cobwebs with some fresh sea air down the beach, or go on an exciting nature trail through the forest, the possibilities are endless! Watch your worries fade away as you enjoy some fun in the fresh air with your family.
Getting out of the house is a great way to get your mind off the stresses of the day and leave your worries at the door. We all have fun memories of staying out ‘til dark after school when we were kids and we’re sure your little adventurous tots will love doing exactly the same with you!
2. Mindful exercise
There’s nothing quite like a spot of yoga and meditation to press pause on a stressful day and regain your inner peace and balance. Take a well-deserved break away from your kids while they’re busy at school or get them involved in some super easy exercises to wind down together after a long day of learning.
Use your imagination to create kid-friendly easy-to-follow prompts, like ‘pretend to be a tree’ or ‘flutter like a butterfly’ to get your kids doing yoga poses in no time at all. You can enjoy this together outside on those warmer early autumn evenings, or inside on rainy days.
Teach your kids some deep-breathing exercises that they can do in the comfort of their own room or at their desk if they’re feeling stressed in school. Your kids may even feel less anxious about starting school if they come prepared with some stress-relieving tricks up their sleeve!
3. Use the power of the pen
Adult colouring books took the world by storm not too long ago as people started connecting with their inner child and realising the de-stressing benefits of colouring. Sit down together, chat about your day and colour away your woes. This is one of the most simple, yet effective de-stressing activities you can do, and will provide you with lots of new fridge-worthy pieces of art to display!
Journalling is a great way of letting go of stress by getting all of your feelings out and down on paper, and all kids love the excitement of keeping a secret diary! Stock up on stickers and let your little one express their feelings in a fun and creative way.
4. Get lost in a book
Reading, whether it be alone or out loud to your kids, is a great way for you both to relax and unwind when you’re feeling stressed during this back-to-school season.
Make reading part of your family’s nightly routine and immerse yourself in all your favourite books and stories, sure to get even the most difficult-to-settle kids ready for the land of nod. Sweet dreams!
5. Don’t be afraid to talk!
Approaching your kids about their worries can be a little daunting (especially when you’re up against a hormonal teen!), but talking openly and honestly is a great way to get rid of stress.
Sit your kids down and talk about their worries in the run up to school starting. You may not always have the answers, but you’ve been in their shoes before and there’s nothing quite like the advice of a parent (whether they ask for it or not!).
Once they’re back to school, devote some time every evening to listen to all the challenges that they’ve faced that day and let them know that they’ve always got an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on with you, should they ever need it.
It may seem clichéd, but the simple act of talking does wonders for lifting stress.
Going back to school shouldn’t have to be a stressful experience for you and your kids, and with the help of this post, you can face the new term and all the challenges it may present with confidence!