10 Hands-On Back to School Tips for Parents in 2023

Here’s First News’ handy guide to helping you get ahead this school year.

1. Re-establish a morning routine

While you can relax the schedule a little, encourage a morning routine towards the end of summer. Encourage your kids to wake up no later than a certain time and try and do something healthy and productive for the first 30 minutes of their day, like reading, walking the dog or catching up on the news.

2. Set up a breakfast station

Make breakfast as stress-free as possible by getting all the food/drinks you need out and putting them in a certain area in your kitchen or dining room for your kids to access easily. Choose healthy, simple options that will set them up for the day.

A medium shot of two redhead, Caucasian siblings having breakfast, the mother is helping plait her daughter's hair. They are both wearing school uniforms as it is their first day at school.

3. Slide into a bedtime routine

Bedtimes often slip thanks to the long summer nights. This can be a hurdle when it comes to suddenly re-establishing back to school bedtimes. Introduce the process gradually by serving dinner earlier and altering evening activities to create a calmer atmosphere, such as sitting down to read or draw. Put regular bath times back on the schedule too.

4. Get used to doing things the night before

To ease pressure on busy mornings, prepare things ahead of time. You could:

  • Pack lunch the night before
  • Lay out clothes for the next day
  • Empty school bag from the day before and repack
  • Prepare bookbag
  • Empty sports kit and put it in the washing
  • Pack fresh sports kit
  • Hang coat by the door
  • Put bags by the door or in designated ‘ready to go’ area
Single Father At Home Getting Son Wearing Uniform Ready For First Day Of School

5. Introduce regular exercise

Heading back to the classroom can be tiring, especially after a summer of fun. Get your kids feeling as healthy and ready as you can. Some things you could try include:

  • Joe Wicks’ home workouts – who didn’t love them in lockdown?!
  • Online yoga videos
  • Walking the dog
  • Going to the park
  • Setting up an obstacle course in your garden

6. Get your family’s diet back on track

We’re all guilty of overindulging over the holidays. But, come September, it’s worth getting into some healthy habits again – not just for our physical health, but our mental health too! Why not try out some different recipes for dinner to mix things up? And swap sugary snacks for fruit or nuts? Fish is great for increasing brain activity as it has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

7. Organise your own schedule

Get yourself back into the flow of things – set goals and get organised. Check your kids have got all the uniform/school supplies they need, and ask if you need to organise any after-school care or clubs, or if there are any extra-curricular activities you need to sign up for this year? Remember to pop time in the diary for yourself too!

8. Discuss the first day back

Open space for conversation – this is especially good if your kids suffer from anxiety or are about to start a new school. Going back to school can be overwhelming and scary for some, especially if there are lots of changes. The idea of taking on harder work may also feel like a lot to some children. Speak and listen honestly and openly with them about the first day back and the coming term. Try to reframe anxiety into excitement by discussing the more enjoyable events, such as giving friends holiday souvenirs or learning new subjects.

If your child is nervous about friendships, you could always organise playdates to re-establish those social connections.

A young African American mother preparing her little daughter for school

9. End the summer with a bang!

The end of summer is a time to wind down and refocus our children’s energy and thoughts toward the return to routine learning. That said, it can be difficult to motivate a child to prepare for going back to school. Why not give them a special occasion to look forward to at the end of the holidays to signify the end of summer and the start to an exciting new term? It’s also worth planning ahead and giving them things to look forward to in autumn/winter so they know that there’s more than just school and homework coming up.

Large group of happy elementary students know the answer on a class in the classroom. Focus is on black girl.

10. Set up a family calendar

Get everyone on the same page with a family calendar, either a physical one or a digital one. That way you can keep track of homework schedules, extra-curricular activities, weekend activities, date nights, childcare etc.

Smiling friends in a classroom

To read more helpful articles like this visit the Talking Points section of our website or sign up for First News at home and at school!

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