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Beat The “Back to School” Power Struggle

board-928378_1280So summer holidays are nearly over for us and we are Getting Back to School after nearly two months!

It’s been nearly two months of proper holiday mode which included late nights, late mornings, video gaming and a general relaxed mode. My son is 9 years old and I’ve noticed that I’m more relaxed about routine as he gets older. Also seeing the amount of work they do during term and in anticipation of more work during the upcoming term, I let him be in his zone during the holidays. I’m also not one of those mums who get their kids to revise or go for extra academic classes during the holidays. I strongly believe they do enough of that during the 9 months they are in school!

Getting your kids back to school mode is hard whether you’ve been on holiday for a month or two. There are practical difficulties like getting them to sleep on time, wake up on time, toilet routines, adjust to having their breakfast early and of course simply getting ready and out of the door to school. So here are my tips to help you ease back into routine:

  • Get in mode! – To help your child (and yourself!) adjust better to getting back into Back to School mode and getting his A Game on, it is best to start easing into the routine at least 3 weeks before getting back to school. If you think your child would find it particularly hard start the routine at least 4 weeks early. If you have child who has any behavioural problems, it’s best that you ease into it at least 4 weeks before school starts. Start with early bedtimes – adults and children both need time for their bodies to adjust to new sleep routines. If your child has got used to sleeping in late and waking up even later, start getting him to go to bed on time. Use an alarm clock to help him wake up on time. If you are like me – this would be a good time for you to get used to waking up early too! Since some kids may have trouble adjusting to earlier breakfast times; have them eat their breakfast early during this time so they have time to get used to it. Same goes for toilet routines.
  • Involve your kids in the various processes of getting back to school – Do you need new shoes, uniforms, stationery or books? Take your kids out with you when you need to purchase these so that they realise that a new term is upon them! If you have other paperwork or need to visit school, do try to take them along with you (unless of course, school rules specify that kids cannot be taken to school before term starts). You can also get your kids to take out their school shoes, polish them and get them ready for school. Same goes for school bag!
  • Sort out their study space – Get together and clean up their study space. You may need to sort out old school books or arrange new ones. Get everything nice, clean and uncluttered before getting them to pack their school books for first day of school.
  • Ease up on the games – Has your little one being Minecrafting his holiday away? If you have a little gamer in your hands, its best to get him off Virtual Reality and into ‘Normal Reality’. A timeline of around two weeks is good enough.
  • Encourage old school activities – get your little one to paint and spend less time watching TV or with other electronics. If your child has not done much reading during the holiday, it best to start getting him to read something at least one month ahead of school.
  • Ease into a bit of work – I’m a firm believer that kids should not do any school work during the holidays. Of course there are exceptions to this. If your child has behavioural problems, you may find it easier to get your child to do a few work exercises at home continuously or on and off. In addition if you find that he has problems keeping up with school work, it may be a good time to revise old work. Either way remember school holidays are important so that kids can just be kids – ride a bike, paint, game, sleep-in a bit, read and basically do things which are non academic. Having said all this, after two months of holidays a sudden change to writing notes and doing a whole days of work might be hard for some younger kids and possibly even older kids. Around a week before school starts, I like to get my one sit down for half hour in the evening and do a bit of writing, just so that he gets used to sitting in one place!
  • Start some focusing games – A board game of memory maybe? Or some mindful concentration?
  • Make a Goal Chart – this turns out into a fun activity as well. Make a Goal Chart together and ask your child what he wants to achieve during this term. Things to include are number of book he’d finish reading by term end, sport levels he’d like to get into etc.
  • Make A School Lunch Chart – this is will make your life super easy! An extension of meal planning! Ask your little one the various things he’d like to have as school lunch and plan out school lunches for about a month which you can repeat for the next couple of months.

Getting back to school after a long holiday takes time adjusting. If you slowly ease into it, it gets that much easier for you and your kids. Even with all these tips, the first few mornings are hardly going to be super easy, you will have to make many trips to bathroom and bedroom – in between making breakfast and packing snacks to make sure your child is on schedule and not getting distracted! Preparing and easing into school routine makes it that much easier too and way less stressful. Might I suggest, if you aren’t driving your kids to school and that’s hubby job – take a breather afterwards! Enjoy a cup of coffee all by yourself!(That’s before the rest of the day’s work starts!).

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