The summer holidays are a lot of fun for children of all ages, with fun-packed afternoons in the sun and late nights becoming part of their everyday life. However, the end of summer and the start of a new school year means that they must adapt to a new schedule rather quickly. This can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Whether your little one is starting school for the first time or your teen is going into their final year, these top tips can help you get them back into a routine.
The new school year means establishing a new morning routine. During the summer holidays, your children may have been able to sleep in and get up whenever they wanted, but this isn’t possible when they need to be at school for a certain time. To ensure they’re ready for the morning wakeup call when school re-starts, it’s a good idea for them to start waking up earlier a week or so before they need to. Remind them that having a good sleep schedule is the most important step to beginning the school year strongly. You could try buying them a new alarm clock in a cool design to make getting up early slightly less painful for them!
Kids don’t function at their best if they’ve not had enough sleep, so it’s imperative to ensure that they’re getting sufficient shuteye at night. Light evenings, entertaining and travelling can all mean later bedtimes during the summer months, and that’s fine when kids can sleep in later in the mornings. However, with early mornings on the horizon and children needing adequate sleep to learn properly at school, it’s essential to set a strict bedtime and stick to it. Allow enough time for a relaxing bedtime routine, particularly if you’ll be moving your child’s bedtime back. Let them unwind and play with their toys for some time. Choose a relaxing activity like colouring or a make your own toy kit. We offer a variety of make your own toys and jewellery sets in our Girls Toys collection, these can be therapeutic and are very easy to make. If you'd rather avoid playtime encourage them to take a bath, read a book, or listen to soothing music before they go to bed. Ideally, try to limit the use of electronics before bedtime too as this will help them to wind down and fall asleep more quickly. Studies show that light from backlit devices such as tablets and smartphones can negatively impact children's sleep.
Another transition that can be difficult after the summer holidays is homework completion. They will suddenly go from doing what they want whilst at home to being faced with schoolwork. You can make this easier for your child by providing them with a structured schedule. Encourage them to complete homework as soon as they return from school. Offer snacks to keep their energy up whilst they’re working and provide help and support should they need it. After they complete their work give them small rewards, you can do something as simple as giving them the chance to choose a handful of toys they'd like. To keep this at a reasonable and manageable budget let them have free reign on our Toy Sale, this way they can build their toy collection AND you can avoid breaking the bank. Most importantly just remember to let your child know that you see how hard they're working, providing positive feedback frequently. This will help motivate them and keep them focussed on their work.
Just like children have a dress rehearsal before a play or dance recital, it’s important to have a fun-through before the first day of school. Choose a day towards the end of the holidays when your whole family can do a dry run of the morning routine. You could keep it fun by turning it into a bit of game, perhaps with visual reminders created by your children. Have them draw each step, beginning with getting out of bed. Once they’ve done this, display it somewhere everyone can see it. They can then get practising!
Starting school after the summer holidays can be nerve-wracking for some children, but there are things you can do to reassure them and ease their worries. Give them little rewards for good behaviour and effort, it doesn't have to be extravagant! Kids love Stickers, so treat them to a well-done sticker in their diary or on the fridge. If your child finds it hard to say goodbye, find somewhere to say farewell in advance. If they are worried about getting lost to and from class, help them to map out the hallways, making sure they know the location of specific locations like the toilets or dinner hall. Even if your child isn’t starting at a new school, beginning the new school year can still be stressful. After all, they may be in a new classroom or have to get used to different classmates. Helping them to prepare for changes ahead of time can calm them and help them to feel more relaxed.
As the summer fades away and school re-starts, it’s time for children to make the transition from beach to classroom. Hopefully, these tips will help you to get them back into a routine quickly and easily. It’s possible that you’ll face a few problems at the beginning, especially if something unexpectedly arises to throw your schedule off. If it does, roll with it and jump back into your new routine as soon as you can.
Thank you for reading, what do you find to be the most challenging part of getting your little ones back into a routine?