After endless sleep-ins and chilled out days with little or no schedule, getting back into the school routine can be a shock to the system – for both kids and parents.
Thousands of Kiwi kids around the country will be feeling a mixture of emotions as they head back to school after a long summer holiday.
It’s common for kids to feel excited, nervous and anxious all at the same time. A new school, teacher and classmates can all add to the uncertainty.
Here are our top 10 tips to help ease the kids back into school:
1. Know the start date
It may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you know the date your child is due back to school. It varies from school to school so check on the school’s website or ring the office.
2. Talk about going back to school
Start talking to your child about going back to school. Ask them how they’re feeling – what they’re looking forward to and what they’re worried about. Explain that it’s normal to feel different emotions like worry and excitement at the same time. Model a positive attitude about going back to help your child feel good.
3. Start waking up earlier
If your kids have been going to bed later and waking up later than usual during the holidays, it will be a shock to the system if they suddenly have to get up early. Start waking them up earlier about a week or so before school goes back so they get used to early starts.
4. Practise walking/catching public transport
If your child is starting a new school, practice walking there or catching public transport so that they know where to go and what to do.
5. Be uniform ready
Check you have the correct uniform if your child is wearing one for the first time. If they already have a uniform, make sure you know where it is, check it’s clean and that it still fits (kids can have big growth spurts over the summer break). Check the traffic light map to find out the setting for your region. If you are at red, all children from years 4–13 will need to wear a mask in the classroom and on buses.
6. Have your stationery ready
Check you have all the necessary stationery and that it’s labelled with your child’s name.
7. Prepare lunches the night before
Make sure you have lunchboxes and drink bottles ready and labelled. Prepare their lunchboxes the night before to make the morning run more smoothly. Remember that schools in Aotearoa New Zealand encourage water (or nonfat milk) only, so check this out with the school before filling drink bottles for your tamariki.
8. Pack bags the night before
Pack schoolbags the night before to make sure you have everything ready that you need. Many schools require a sunhat and sunblock in the first term so have those things ready.
9. Get up earlier than you normally would
Get up 10 to 15 minutes earlier than you usually would to allow time for a healthy breakfast and for any unforeseen issues. Having more time to get ready helps reduce stress levels.
10. Take a deep breath
The first few days or weeks back can be a bit stressful for everyone. It can take a while to get back into the swing of things, especially if you add in after-school activities. So, take a deep breath if it’s all too much and remember that tomorrow is a new day!
COVID-19 Protection Framework advice for schools and kura Ministry of Education, NZ
- 5 tips to help ease your child back into school mode after the holidays The Conversation Media Group, Australia, 2020
- Getting kids back into a good sleep routine after holidays KidSpot, NZ
- Education at red Unite Against COVID-19, NZ, 2021
- Education at orange Unite Against COVID-19, NZ, 2021
- Education at green Unite Against COVID-19, NZ, 2021