5 Tips for Getting Back into the Swing of School

With the return to school, Junior Psychologist Sharon Turner offers 5 Wellbeing Tips for parents.

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In the Media: School Days Magazine, 1 Feb 2022

Sharon Turner is a School Psychologist at Strathcona Girls Grammar in Victoria.  She shares her helpful and easy top 5 tips for preparing to get back into school mode after the long Summer holidays.

1. Practise positivity

While we know there has been lots of uncertainty in the last couple of years with moving between onsite and remote learning, be positive and excited about the new year and your child’s capacity to cope with whatever the year brings. 

Focus on the opportunities that this school year brings for them. Whether it is their first year of primary school, secondary school or any year in between. Discuss that is it a chance to re-kindle and re-energise friendships or make new friends, to try new subjects in secondary school or new opportunities such as sport, art and music.

2. Get back into routines before heading back to school

School holidays usually see a lapse in morning, evening and sleep routines, so try and bring the required school routines for these back into place before going back to school. This way there will be less distress, frustration and tiredness when school starts.

Sleep-wake cycles take time to adjust, so this way there is time to gradually bring bedtime back to a more reasonable time and to ensure that they will be able to wake up earlier if they have been sleeping in.

For younger children, a visual reminder of each routine might assist them in knowing what to do when, while for older students helping them to make a schedule for managing their time and commitments after school might assist them. 

Lastly, technology use and rules around this may also have been relaxed over the break. Try and ensure children know what the requirements will be once back at school if this differs to what has happened over the break.

3. Reduce worries by ensuring kids feel prepared for everyday 

Familiarise young children with the route for going to school by walking or driving past the school. For older children, practice the route with them on public transport if they are making their own way there.

Ensure younger children have practiced changing in and out of their uniform if they have a sport or swimming lesson that requires them to change and ensure that they are able to open and close any new lunch boxes or food containers.

For those starting secondary school, discuss how to read a timetable and help them organise schoolbooks in a way that makes sense to them.

No matter what age they are, ensure they know who is a go-to person for them at school if they need assistance with any issues that arise. 

4. Conversations about the Day

In the morning, be excited about the positive things in the day ahead. 

In the afternoon when asking about their day, be sure to ask what things were exciting about their day as well as whether there were any things they were left wondering about. This might give you an insight into things that are worrying them about their day or the days ahead and give you the ability to help them problem solve those issues.

Try and ask about the things that may have not gone as expected and affirm their feelings while being positive about the fact that there is a solution and things will improve, for example, “It sounds like some things today were a little difficult, I wonder what we can do to make tomorrow easier?” 

Don’t forget to remind them that friendships are like plants, they don’t grow overnight, they take time to grow and flourish, and need lots of care.

5. Downtime

Remember children coming home from school after such a long break as well as it being warm weather will be tired. 

Try and make room for some free time after school to let your children relax and take a break from learning and scheduled activities. This can be a good chance to reconnect over fun things that they might like to do such as reading, playing outside, catching up with friends, walking the dog, and playing games.

Remember to be kind to yourself as you also get back into the swing of school routines -morning routines, making lunches, washing school clothes, after school routines and activities