Planning for the return to school

Going back to school after a long summer break can be almost more traumatic for a child than the first day of school. They know what to expect. The excitement of the first day is long gone. Some will be nervous about changing teacher or making the transition from primary to secondary school. We have some suggestions to make the return to school that little bit easier on children and their parents.

Going back to school after a long summer break can be almost more traumatic for a child than the first day of school. They know what to expect. The excitement of the first day is long gone. Some will be nervous about changing teacher or making the transition from primary to secondary school. We have some suggestions to make the return to school that little bit easier on children and their parents.

A big part of a successful first week is establishing a routine and explaining where the bathroom is, what happens when you go to gym class and when to expect at recess. With a little preparation, parents can help. Here’s how to make your child’s transition a smooth one.

Remember Routines.

Family routines tend to slide in the summer — after all, what’s summer without crazy bedtimes — and it can be hard to readjust come autumn. Well before school starts, focus on choosing sleep, exercise, healthy foods, and time together. Practice school bedtimes a week before school starts so that the new routine is established.

Get Ready!

Don’t underestimate the fun and importance of new stuff for the big day. With younger kids, a bag full of school supplies, a new backpack and a few new items of clothing tend to gear them up without any further encouragement. For an older child, this may be the time to give the thumbs-up to that must-have trend item, especially if he’s earned some money over the summer to pay for it.

Another way to get everyone prepared is to plan a fun family outing on the weekend before they return to school.

Show Them the Way.

If she’s new to the school, show your child her classroom, what entrance and exit to use and where the bathroom is located. If she’s taking the bus, visit the bus stop location and explain how to get on and off, especially if it’s the first time. Show her the drop off and pick up spot at school, too — if you’re not sure where it will be, call the school ahead of time to find out.

Some schools will allow you to take a tour during the summer and arrange to meet the teacher.

Talk, Talk, Talk.

Try to think of all the positive things that they like about school and talk about them as much as possible, ask about friends they haven’t seen over the summer.

And for the younger kids, it’s a good idea to explain the role of the teacher to your child. Encourage the child to speak up and let the teacher know if they’re having problems.

This is especially important if a child is getting bullied, which can happen even on the first day. They need to know they can, and should, talk to the teacher.

Be Organized.

Ease back-to-school anxiety by being prepared. Help your child to lay out her clothes and pack her backpack the night before. Be sure to include a healthy lunch and a snack that your child can open and eat on his own.

Back to school time is always a particularly expensive time of the year for parents but in the current difficult economic climate many parents are looking for ways to save money on school costs. Irish website schooldays.ie has lots of information and advice, such as:

School Uniforms

With a lot of wear and tear, it can be difficult to pass-on or obtain second hand school uniforms in good condition.

However it can be worth checking with neighbours or relatives for second hand school garments which might still have some wear in them.

Shop around for generic items

While you may have to visit specific shops to purchase items with the school logo, eg jumper or tracksuit, make sure you shop around for the generic items such as the navy skirt or trousers or the white or blue shirt. Larger chain stores can have some very good offers early in the school season.

However be cautious in that cheapest isn’t always the most cost effective.

Spending that little bit more on better quality may mean that the jumper or trousers may last you a little longer saving on secondary purchases during the school year.

Label Uniforms

There is nothing more frustrating for a parent who has spent considerable money on purchasing a new uniform at the beginning of the school year than for their child to announce after a few weeks or months that they have lost their jumper or jacket.

By labeling the uniform and including a telephone number you considerably increase the odds of the lost item being returned.