Back to School…

September’s here!
Time flies, the summer holidays stretched out before us, now we only have a week left! September is bringing a nip in the air and the start of a new season. Don’t be overwhelmed with what needs to be done, follow these steps.
Make a list or what you need to buy and have a budget and shop around; most shops have some offers on school uniform. Supermarkets have some great deals and for little ones who grow quickly grab a bargain, cheap and cheerful is best here.
The first day back at school is a shock if usual bedtime routines have been in holiday mode. Start a few days before to adjust to school bedtime and have a practice the day before of getting up; little ones can even practice getting dressed. It’s also good to wash new shirts, they can be stiff when straight out of the packet.
A calendar in a central place detailing school dates, assemblies, drop offs and pickups will be useful, whether it’s on the fridge door or on the cloud- do what suits your whole family.
Children love to pick their own lunchboxes/backpacks with their favourite characters on, let their personality shine through.
Label everything, the last thing you want is for your freshly bought uniform to go walkabout. Label pumps and shoes with half the child’s name in one shoe and half in the other shoe. When the child places their shoes in front of them, in the right order, it will say their name and they are guaranteed to get shoes on the right feet.
Build a good relationship with your child’s teacher, show up at events, be supportive and feedback where there have been positives too, not just concerns. Use the correct terminology; it will help your children, gone are Infants and Dinner Ladies- it’s Key Stage 1 and Lunchtime Assistants please!
If your child is starting secondary school it is an anxious time for both of you; try not to pass your anxieties onto them. Your child will need to adjust to taking responsibility more at secondary school, for homework, equipment needed and navigating around school for timetabled lessons.
Many children will be using public transport so it is good preparation to do a practise run. Prepare them for what is needed and how to deal with the unexpected during their journey e.g. delays, getting on wrong bus. Some emergency money in their bag is a good idea too.
At this stage, it is worth spending a bit more on uniform to get a better quality. Shirts that don’t need ironing if hung up after washing become Mum’s best friend. Coats can normally wait until October; they will seem encumbered enough with all their new supplies without carrying a coat too.
Discreetly label PE Kits; they can still walk. Encourage children to get everything ready the night before, stopping the early morning panic of the PE Kit not being dry or not having ingredients for cookery.
Most schools now have newsletters and information for parents online, this is generally easier than getting information out of your teenager.
Sometimes secondary school brings new friends; this can be both exciting and worrying. Remind your child to be friendly even if they feel shy and to make a large circle of friends rather than just sticking to one friend at this stage. The adjustment for parents here is that you may not know the family of your child’s friends, there’s no waiting at the school gate anymore. When the requests for sleepovers come in, use common sense, try to start with going for tea and introduce yourself to the other family.
I am of the belief that you can make a child sit at a desk but you can’t make them revise/ do homework. Best to be relaxed and supportive, work with the teachers, but responsibility for homework has to be the child’s.
Make time to listen to the chatter after those first days back, a parent’s reassurance is what’s needed most.
Happy New Term!

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