Back to school time is always filled with excitement and trepidation.
With so much disruption to all of our lives over the past year and a half, we hope that these few tips will help ease the transition back to school for parents and kids.
While we're a little late for the start of school suggestions in some states, we still think it's not too late to smooth out rest of the school year.
So if your child has already braved their first day of school, or if they're already a week or two in ,then we hope you'll find something useful below.
Support your kids
We know this goes without saying, but it's worth a reminder.
While there's an enormous amount of admin and preparation for parents, it's also an incredibly emotionally unstable time for children.
From the safety of family-time, summer warmth and (for many) isolation and quarantine, to a school full of peers and teachers.
Parental patience is going to be tested, however we've also got to be understanding.
This could be (understandably) a daunting time. It might take some extra hand-holding and a little more support than usual, even for the bravest kid facing a new school year.
Throughout the school year we think it's important to celebrate regularly and take time to review challenges as a family.
Acknowledging that school can be tough, emotionally and mentally, will help children understand that if they're struggling, they're not alone.
Possibly parent's least favourite duty in the back to school prep is gathering the necessary supplies.
Though if you have a well prepared school, you'll have received a list of items to pack for the first day already.
Online shopping has made this task easier, however ensuring that everything is named, packed and ready (as well as approved by your kid) can still be a bit of a mission.
We recommend involving your kid as much as possible in picking the school supplies. This not only helps them get mentally ready for the start of the school, but also take some ownership in their new belongings.
Once you've got them, getting your kid to help prepare their backpack the night before will also help instil a routine and keep them organized.
It can also be a bit of fun for younger kids, building routines in kindergarten that will stay with them throughout their schooling.
Clothes and shoes should also be put into the new school year preparation list.
For parents with kids at non-uniform schools, this can mean a number of full outfits, gym gear and shoes. You can even go that extra step helping you kid personalize their school clothes with Meland's tie dye kits.
For parents with kids at uniforms, the options are limited but the then there are other issues at play (particularly ensuring that all pieces of the uniform are ready to go before school each morning!).
While packing, some writers recommend a small bag within your kids backpack for crisis items.
For a young child, this can be a picture of mom and dad, for older kids this can be anything from bandages, tissues antibacterial gel or even a stick or two of gum. Anything that could help your child feel confident for being prepared.
Any parent learns that from the birth of their first child getting ready to get out of the house can be an ordeal. Getting out to anywhere on time and ready for the day takes enormous effort, logistics, practice and a flexibility and patience in your schedule that can accept a few late arrivals.
On a school day, morning routines become ever so much more important.
Dress, breakfast, clean, then out the door with everything needed for a day.
Wrangling everyone together to get to school on time is truly what can make or break families.
Help alleviate any anxiety your child might be feeling by preparing as much as you can in advance. Packing backpacks, making lunch, and planning outfits the night before is quite simply the easiest way to take a little stress off of the morning.
Keep breakfasts simple, nutritious and healthy. A full cooked breakfast is an extravagance that few parents have the time to create, while sugary convenience food bought on route can hurt concentration and hamper learning.
Mornings are also a great time for parents to check in with their children to catch any problems early.
Notice any changes in their usual behaviour. A kid that usually loves to go to school suddenly doesn't want to, a kid that normally requires dragging out the door is suddenly ready to go before you are? These are all possible signs that you might want to slow down and check in with them, just to make sure everything is going well at school and that they're happy.
Evenings during the school year
Evenings can quickly be eaten up during the school week. After school sports, homework, playdates, and the very important down-time all need to be crammed into the short time between the end-of-day bell and bedtime.
Of course all kids take different amounts of extra curricular on, and require different amount of motivating to finish homework so take on any suggestions with care.
However we feel that a little structure can help kids get what's needed done finished, while also getting in that much needed break and wind-down at the end of their day.
For older kids, setting aside a desk or space when they get home for doing homework can help.
Develop a simple routine, like taking a short break when your kid gets home, then getting down to tackling any homework before dinner and a good spell of free time.
For young kids, chances are there will be no homework. However it is good practice to reinforce any ideas or concepts learned during the day while ensuring that the child has enough free-time to unwind and explore.
For times when your kids need a little motivation or pick me up when you get home, sometimes letting off some steam is necessary.
A Meland basketball hoop and stand can be the ideal way to let off steam and reset for the next day back at school, or for the kid who's needing a creative break after rigorous academics, perhaps Meland's Fuse Beads Kit.
Preparing for back to school
Back to school can be tough on your child. There are a many ways that parents can support their children in this trying time.
Helping them transition from holiday to education involves preparation, nurturing skills, practicing routines, praising and rewarding, and a bit of free time to unwind at home. Striking the right balance of leading, encouraging and letting go is (as with most parenting) key to supporting your young one in their education.