School year: Starting 2021 on the right foot

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With 2021 now in full swing, the new year is fast approaching and many parents are excited about sending their kids back to school after a long summer break. But for many kids, returning to school can be quite daunting: new location, new classrooms, new faces, and unfamiliar surroundings… 

If that isn’t anxiety inducing enough, for some children the new school year will be harder than usual after a stop-start school year in 2020, which was riddled with uncertainty. So, how can we make the start of this new year as smooth as possible for children? 

Set up a routine 

We’ve all heard the old adage ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’; sound advice to start the year. While it’s easy to forget about routines during holidays, starting the school term without one can be make or break for kids and parents, particularly in these uncertain times. So, start with establishing a regular routine around mealtimes, homework, sleep, prayers and family time. And, don’t forget to factor in rules around screen time. To avoid mayhem on the first day back, make sure you ease into your new routine by starting it a few days in advance. 

Support your child emotionally 

While preparing physically for the new academic year is important, it is just as important to prepare your child emotionally. Before school starts, try to set time aside to sit down with your child to ask them things like: what they’re looking forward to most during the school year, and what things might be worrying them about heading back to, or starting, school. By giving them an opportunity to voice their expectations and fears, you can help them work through any concerns they might have before school even starts.  

Connect with your school community

A familiar face and a friend to lean on, can make all the difference for children during the school term. So, find ways to encourage your child to be social. You can get in touch with other parents to organise social activities for your child and their classmates e.g. setting up a book club, scheduling group study sessions etc.

Also, make sure you check in regularly with your child’s teacher to keep track of your child’s learning progress and overall wellbeing – that way you can make sure to address any issues as they come up!

Top tips for a successful start to the school year:

  • Allocate a quiet space at home where your child can read, learn and study without interruptions
  • Encourage your child to have their books, stationary and uniform ready the night before
  • Have a chat with your child about their expectations about returning to school
  • Limit daily screen time