Easy does it

Try these back to school tips to get you and your children back into the school spirit
By Tamlyn Vincent

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Waking up early; getting through the morning traffic; making sure homework gets done… Getting back into the swing of things in the new year can be difficult, both for children and parents. But there are a few ways to make it easier on everyone.
Regular routine
Get children back into their bedtime routine so they’re going to bed on time, and waking up early enough to get ready for school. Having a set routine, for meals, homework and other daily events, is important for easing back into school. It’s also helpful to discuss the school schedule with children, so that they know what they can expect every day. So if there’s sport that afternoon, or art during the day, let them know ahead of time. Try to schedule in some exercise time, and time for relaxing, playing and just enjoying childhood.
Plan ahead
To help everyone get into and stick with the routine, set up a family planner or schedule where everyone can see what’s happening and when. The planner should have a row for everyone in the family, and a column for every day of the week (even weekends if you’re expecting to attend sports matches or galas). For children who prefer visual reminders, look for a magnetic planner, with picture magnets for different activities.
Rule reminder
Now is a good time to set up or re-establish family rules and regulations. Over the holidays, screen time was probably a little longer than you liked, and bedtime was more than likely flexible. But now it’s time to put your foot down – set a fixed time for bed, schedule homework time every day, and put a limit on how long children can sit in front of the TV. You can also establish who is expected to do what. If children will be responsible for packing (and unpacking) their bags, or are required to do specific chores, let them know this upfront.
Work space
Set up a homework space or work station. This helps you maintain a bit of order in your home, and gives children a dedicated space to keep their books, stationery and school bags. It also means they’re not sitting in their rooms or in front of the TV while doing their homework, so there are less distractions.
Healthy and happy
School can be tough on children, so to help them concentrate for the whole day, make sure they’re following a healthy balanced diet. This starts with a good breakfast, which will give children enough energy to get through the morning. Ensure that children have a healthy lunchbox packed with something from all the food groups. Avoid sugary foods or refined carbohydrates. Instead, choose foods that have a slow energy release to keep children going the whole day. Go for foods that are easy to eat (you don’t want to compete with playtime) and try to vary your offerings so children don’t get bored. Don’t forget to add a bottle or two of water to keep them hydrated.


Natasha Kock wrote 3 years 31 weeks ago

The year started on a tough note when it came to getting my 6 year old back on track. It's his last year at pre-school and he is hating every bit of it. The school opened 4 Jan and my son has being crying everyday, refusing to go back. His excuse is: there are no friends his age at school at the moment, which I fully understand, but his principal has rest assured that it will get better once the new kids arrived. His previous mates are at primary school. I encourage him, get him all excited, etc, but nothing seems to help. He seems very unhappy and before the holidays he was okay.

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