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Back to school tips

5 ways to prepare your child for this school year

Returning to school can be a challenging task for both children and parents. January is hot. Holidays are fresh. The excitement of Christmas still lingers in the air. Routines are out the window and there is a foreboding realisation that the chaos of packing lunches, organising school bags and books, homework and deadlines and other joys of returning to school are all just around the corner…

Transitioning your child back into the classroom doesn’t have to be such a daunting adjustment period for the family. Here are some simple pointers to help prepare your child return to school with a head start!

  1. Children are like sponges. They will pick up on any negative connotations about returning to school, either from their parents, siblings or friends. Make sure you reinforce how exciting this year is going to be and refer to a couple of examples that you know are unique for this year. As a parent you need to be positive and excited about the year ahead.
  2. Children thrive on responsibility and a sense of maturity. Give your child a suitable job or task that they can manage around the house in January. Reinforce the significance of this job using phrases like ‘Now you are in Year Two, I think you are grown up enough to… help me make some cupcakes, take the dog for a short walk by yourself, choose a new novel from the bookstore etc.  Make sure it is a fun task and something that interests them. Start to build their excitement about being in a new year level and the significance of their educational development.
  3. Routines!!! As hard as it is to maintain routines in the holidays, it is import to start returning to normality a week or so before beginning school.  Start with simple household routines like bedtimes, eating times (adjust according to the school bell times), the types of foods the children eat and at what time of the day (treats should be saved for after school hours), get the children ready in the morning at the usual time for your family, focus on breakfast, getting dressed etc.
  4. Get the brains ticking! After over 5 weeks off school all children will experience difficulty getting their thoughts focused back into learning. Children will need time to remember how to complete specific mathematics and literacy based tasks. Some children will even forget simple skills they learnt from the year before. This is normal behaviour for primary school children, however, the faster the children can begin cognitively processing learnt material, the better. Think of creative ways that you can begin to engage your child in educational activities during the lead up to the start o the year.
  5. Set attainable goals and expectations for the year ahead. Discuss suitable rewards for completing homework on time e.g. ‘After homework is completed you can have time on the iPad’

Remember that children will reflect your own beliefs and thought patterns about returning to school. Be positive and excited about the possibilities of the new year ahead and manage challenges as they arise, don’t preempt them. Education is the key to possibilities so embrace 2016 and begin with the right foot forward!

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