Routine Refreshers: Back to School Tips from Experts
Hit reset on term time routines with this helpful guide. We’ve gathered advice from experts in the realms of family life, education and child wellbeing to provide you with top tips on how to make the back to school transition a little smoother.
First up, Laura Earnshaw, author of the bestselling book My Happy Mind shares her tips on how to approach any worries children may be experiencing:
There’s no doubt about it! Returning and settling back into school is going to come with a whole host of feelings, excitement, curiosity and maybe a little bit of worry – for us and our little ones! So, here are three tips to help ease this transition as much as possible.
- Explore and acknowledge their feelings
Even if your child seems ‘OK’ with the idea of returning to school, it is super important to create some time and space to ease out their feelings about it – whatever these may be! You may have a child who talks about their feelings naturally which is wonderful. If your little one needs a little bit of prompting here, which is totally normal, you can try using role play with their favourite characters such as Lego figures!
Remember that the aim here is to talk about feelings that they have, not to plant worries or fears. So, if they seem absolutely fine about the return don’t feel the need to labour this!
- Get back to a routine
Routines have looked a little different during this unusual time with but when they return to school they’ll be back into a much stricter one. There will also be lots more rules around keeping them safe due to Covid. To help them to adjust to this it’s important that they understand why these rules and routines are in place. This helps to remove the fear of the unknown which is often a source of worry. You could also put more of a routine in at home to ease this transition too.
- Get them excited!
As well as preparing your child for the ‘new normal’ by helping them to get used to some of their new routines, it’s really important to get them excited! Helping them to feel positive and excited about starting school will really help to dissolve any feelings of worry that they may have. So, focus on all the good things that will happen, seeing friends, learning with a teacher etc. Ensuring you help them to feel excited and positive about returning to school will help your little one to associate starting school with being a positive experience.
Sleep experts, Eve and Gem, from Calm & Bright Sleep Support share their tips on how to help re-establish bedtime routines:
Lockdown life means that so much has gone out the window, and sleep is no exception. We’ve been helping families with solid sleep for twelve years now and even our children have been climbing the walls come sundown! So, try to banish any guilt about your child’s sleep being out of sorts and tell yourself you’re doing brilliantly, however sleep looks!
If better rest is something you want to get a grip on before schools are back, there’s plenty of time. Sending your child back to school or nursery as rested as possible will help them to:
- Feel secure enough to leave you at the gate
- Be ready to concentrate and engage with a lot more learning than they’re used to
- Have the energy for physical and mental play with their peers
- Build the stamina for a lot more physical activity than they may have been used to over lockdown
Here are our five tips on how to prepare for term time sleep:
- Start waking your child up at the time they’ll need to be awake on a school day. Include non-school-age siblings too so you’re all on the same page.
- Most children age 6 months to 6 years need around 11-12 hours solid sleep overnight. Make sure their bedtime and wake time allow for this.
- Find out how well your child’s sleep is serving them based on how happy they generally are between sleeps, whether they mostly wake up cheerfully and how peacefully and quickly they fall asleep for naps or at night – 5 to 15 minutes is great.
- If you can, try to fit in some fresh air, fun and food (the 3 Fs) before a sleep. For older babies and children, an after-dinner, non-sugary ‘supper’ of porridge or something similar can keep rumbly tummies that can cause early wakes at bay.
- Know that there is no ‘right’ way to do sleep, only the right way for your family. Remember: if it’s working for you, it’s working. If sleep doesn’t feel like it’s working, know that there is great hope. Families are often just a handful of days away from a full night’s sleep!
Holly King-Mand, an award-winning online English teacher, explains how to help your children settle in at school:
Parents can best support their children by keeping things positive. They can fill those school-run chats with positive questions such as “who are you most excited about playing with?”, “who had the biggest smile in the playground?” or “what was the funniest thing someone said today?” to keep conversations upbeat. “Did you do all your work?” and “what did you find most challenging?” are important questions, but they can wait until your little one has settled back into school life.
Teachers will have a plan in place to tackle the ‘catch up’ issue, so parents can safely put this concern to the back of their mind in the coming weeks and focus on their own specialist subject: managing their child’s emotional wellbeing. The catch up will come! Any extra work you are doing with them needs to feel exciting and inspiring: passionate subject specialists (do pop into one of my online lessons!) can help bring the wonder back to their learning if they’re feeling dejected.
The narrative they hear needs to be that learning is exciting, school is great and friends are the best! And this will put them in the best possible position to flourish in the classroom.
Little Dish work with nutritionist and mum Charlotte Stirling-Reed to ensure their fresh kids’ meals not only taste delicious but that they’re nutritionally balanced.
After weeks of lunches at home, we asked if they could share some ideas to help you prep quick and easy lunchbox recipes and after school snacks:
Check out Little Dish’s recipe hub for more inspiration.
We also love Taming Twins who shares quick recipe videos to solve your dinner dilemmas, the Happy Pear who create budget and family friendly vegan recipes and My Little Food Critic who makes easy, healthy recipes for all the family.
We hope these tips from some of our favourite experts come in handy as you and your children prepare to kick-start back to school routines. Don’t forget, check out our free back to school printables. The series includes a route to school challenge, morning and after school checklists and an activity pack to help re-familiarise children with everything they love about school.
Share this post: