Returning back to school

Are you concerned about how you are going to get yourself and your child ready for back-to-school time? Here’s our comprehensive 7-day back-to-school guide to inspire you to get into action, take the worry away and enjoy the last few days of the holidays!

Day 1: Uniforms, Shoes and School supplies
If you already have school and sports uniforms as well as shoes from last year, then get your child to try them on to make sure they still fit. If you are lucky enough that they still fit, simply get everything ready with a wash, an iron and a polish and you’re done. If not, make a list of the purchases and alterations you need and then shop, taking advantage of the back to school sales. Make sure you leave enough lead time for uniforms to be made or altered for length.

Day 2: Contacts, Calendars and Routines
Create a contact list including your phone number and address, emergency numbers, doctor’s numbers and a ‘back-up’ contact number for when you can’t be reached. Place these numbers on the fridge at home in clear view, provide them to your child’s school, in your child’s school bag and help your child to memorise your contact number and their home address.

Purchase a large calendar where you can write appointments and events and place it in a location where it is easy to view and update. Help your child to learn about using a calendar by referring to it every day and updating it together. Then review your routines for the morning, after school and before bed and ensure you explain these to your child.

This is a great life skill you can help your child develop!

Day 3: Homework and Sleeping
Prepare a dedicated area for your child to study and complete their homework after school. Ideally this is a quiet space with no access to internet or television. By involving your child in the design, they feel part of the process and it makes it more inviting to them. Both you and your child need to be well rested to be productive and happy throughout the day. Now is the time to agree on bedtimes and waking times, put them down on paper and to stick to them.

Day 4: Back-to-school Nerves and Friendships
Talking about the upcoming school year and the changes your child might experience can help reduce some of their back-to-school anxiety. You can also motivate and inspire your child by discussing the exciting new classes and activities. Encouraging your child to be friends with a broad range of peers, some who may not share all their own personal interests, holds many advantages.

Day 5: Troubleshooting and Transportation
Do you still remember your own days at school and some of the difficulties you may have faced? Imagine if you had the opportunity to discuss these with your own parents beforehand and given the chance to develop and practise strategies to cope. Take the time to sit down with your child and talk about topics like bullying, accidents, drugs and alcohol, strangers and peer pressure. Your child is more likely to cope better if they have discussed a situation and practised strategies before these occurs.

Plan how your child will get to and from school. Explain the transport plan to your child in detail and then have a few practice-runs so you both feel safe and confident.

Day 6: Meeting the Teachers and Setting Good Examples
As you get closer to the back-to-school date, organise for a tour of the school with your child and to meet their teachers. Meeting the teacher can reduce your child’s back-to-school nerves. Opening the lines of communication and building a friendly relationship with your child’s teacher will support your child in many ways!

Day 7: Create a Small Surprise for your Child
Prepare a little surprise like a personal note or a photograph and place it in your child’s bag for them to find at some time during their first day … it will show them that you care and think about them, reassure your child they are loved and inspire a big smile!

Source: This is an edited extract from ‘Returning back to school routine’, available from AFA Care and Benestar at