This year the break from the routine of the school day has been even longer than the six week summer holiday, with many parents facing the various challenges associated with home schooling when lockdown was imposed in March. All reports point to schools reopening in September, so whilst you heave a sigh of relief that your dining table no longer needs to double as a school desk, now is the time to start thinking about the back to school prep you’ll need to do to ensure no last minute panic the night before the start of term.
When normal school routines went out of the window during lockdown, it’s likely that the morning and evening routines in your house went the same way. Start thinking about what time your family will all need to be up and about in the morning in order to have time for breakfast before school. Then try to start getting up a little earlier, day by day, a week or so before school starts so that no one gets too much of a fright when the alarm goes off on the first day back. These earlier starts might also need to be joined by earlier bedtimes! The lure of gaming with friends or one more box set is strong, but try to get into the habit of everyone being in bed at a time close to normal so that waking up isn’t any more difficult than it needs to be!
It’s been a while since anyone wore a school uniform, so now is the time to rummage through those cupboards and dig everything out for a try-on session. Children grow so quickly that you are bound to have things that don’t fit, so why not sell on anything in good condition or do a swap with friends to minimise the amount you have to spend on new items. We’re lucky on the Isle of Wight to have lots of ways to buy and sell secondhand items easily, via sites such as Facebay and Wightbay, so keep an eye out for anything you might need as well as selling the things you don’t. Check out the school’s uniform list to see what’s required, and if you have to book an appointment with your uniform supplier then make sure you’ve done that in good time as all the best slots get snapped up and you don’t want to miss out on any vital pieces of kit.
Who can forget the thrill of a new pencil case to start the term! It’s amazing how a fully stocked set of stationery can dissipate over the school year, so do a stock check to see what might be missing and then you can replenish in plenty of time, together with adding in a few treats for the stationery fanatics. Again it’s a good idea to check the school’s list of requirements, particularly if you have children moving from primary to secondary school, as there may be new items they won’t have needed before that you’ll need to add to your shopping list.
Perhaps you’re one of the many families who are in the process of moving to a new home and also a new school. Make sure you know exactly the route you’ll take to school in the morning whilst the traffic is quieter, and learn about where you can and can’t park. If your children will be catching the bus then have a practise run walking to the bus stop in the morning so they’ll know how long it’s going to take, and if they’ll be walking to school then practise that route with them too so that you’re comfortable they’ll be safe when walking with their friends.
Why not take advantage of this time to start something new too? So many of us make new year’s resolutions, determined to begin January in a whole new light, but almost 80% of us fail to stick to our new routines after the first few weeks. After all, January is cold, dark and comes after all the fun of Christmas so it’s not surprising that new exercise regimes, health kicks or plans to try and save money fall at the first hurdle. However, turn September into your new year much as it would have been when you were at school and the determination to start something afresh is much more likely to stick with you. The weather is still good and there are plenty of hours of daylight left which makes everyone feel more positive.
So why not move that resolution to read more frequently instead of scrolling social media, test out that new fitness class you’ve been thinking about, or even take the time to focus on learning a new skill or language. Set yourself a goal of Christmas and see just how much you can achieve with your very own ‘back to school’ routine.