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Tips on returning to school after the holidays

Little girl standing beside a blackboard that says back to schoolBack to school …again! Yes, it’s that time of the year right now! January is the beginning of the calendar year and for Australian schools it’s the beginning of the school year.

What does back to school … again mean?

In families where the school aged-children have been home for past month or so, it’s “almost” a relief for many to know that routines are about to kick in again.

Any visit to a local or regional shopping centre there will be many shops already telling us it’s back to school time. It’s the ‘time of year’ when it’s likely money can be going out more than it’s coming in thanks to back to school expenses – school shoes, uniforms, lunch boxes, drink bottles and school bags, !

The school-aged children are becoming restless, in need of company of more than the family and perhaps “bored”. There are some quiet night cuddles where someone confides that ‘going back to school’ is becoming something to worry about.

So how can you make the ‘return to school’ week go more smoothly?

Tips for returning to school after the holidays

Depending on the school, the system running that school and the state or territory the ‘returning to school week’ could be quite different

  • I recommend keeping an eye on the school’s newsletter page (from late last year too) and uploading the school’s app for last minute and up-to-date information
  • It’s a good idea to do a ‘drive-by’ or ‘walk by’ the school to check out the school external signage as many have the dates and days up already for parents to be informed.
  • On the first day back for STUDENTS who are RETURNING there may be different dates. This is particularly so in High Schools and in some K-6 Schools. It would be an inconvenience for you and your child to turn up ready and the day is not that one. Check the 2016 school term and holiday dates and check them against your school’s dates too.
  • Before the actual day of returning to school, do a check of the uniform and shoes readiness. Of course your child will have grown! Where schools sell their uniforms and have a second-hand uniform shop, they open on some days in the school holidays. Check the school’s website and external signs.
  • On the day of school’s return, there are often some emotional reactions as it’s been a long time of being at home and now there will be a new day (and weeks) ahead with school clothing worn, shoes and socks and being away from family. If you can keep your own feelings ‘under control’ and be reassuring to your child that will assist greatly. Save the few tears till later if that’s the case for you!
  • Once at school, if possible stay with your child briefly and “don’t hang out” for too long as this may exacerbate your child’s uncertainty. Be confident that the school’s personnel know what to do and how to help the children return with confidence.
  • At some schools your child will already be placed in the new class and with the new teacher. In others, this may happen over time in the day itself or the week ahead. This can be necessary as schools’ populations can change over the six or so weeks of the school holidays. Remember to be as ‘patient’ as you can and know that the school will do all it can to have children in their new classes as soon as practicable.
  • At the end of this first day, if you can, please be there to greet your child! On a hot day I’m sure a cold drink or fruit snack on the way home in the car or on the walk back would be most appreciated.
  • And, breathe! The first day for your returning-to-school is over.

My next blog post will be about the weeks of first term, the potential issues, how to manage before and after school activities and homework.

May your child or children have a wonderful return to school in 2016.

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