We’ve all been there. Heading back to school in the new year can feel jarring after many weeks of play. Wake time is now much earlier, there is homework to contend with, and in general, big changes in routine can simply take time to adjust to.

With some thoughtful prep work, the transition from the school holidays into the new academic year can be easier for your children and you. Here are some ideas to consider.

Go shopping

Got supplies that need replacing or replenishing? Make that a family outing. Have your child pick out his own stationery, wallet and school shoes (within a stipulated budget, of course) to get the anticipation started. And let’s not forget the school textbooks. While labelling them, point out new topics for his or her favourite subjects—make the idea of learning fun for the little one!

Do it gradually

You can be sure that a sudden and severe cut-back on screen time between December and January is going to be met with a lot of resistance from your child. Manage the reduction gradually. Get the family to head out for a swim or have boardgames night in lieu of TV or game time to wean the children off their devices.

Be empathetic

The start of the new school year can be anxiety-fraught, especially if your child is starting out with new classmates or in a new school. Acknowledge their feelings and normalise them by sharing your own experience dealing with similar situations.

Set expectations

Remind your child again of the hours he or she needs to keep when the school year starts. Also, go through the packing list and demonstrate how to neatly organise books and worksheets.

Start the day right

While waking up before the sun is tough, any exhaustion will be offset by your children heading off to school in a positive state of mind. Get the coffee (or tea) going a few minutes earlier and fill the home with that perk-me-up aroma. Then put together a simple sandwich you know your kids enjoy and have a quick chat over breakfast before everyone starts their day energised.

Accept that things won’t be perfect

Despite your best efforts, it may take a while before your child gets into the swing of the new academic year. So expect some cranky mornings or the occasional mad rush to make it for the school bus. It’s all part of the growing up experience!

Back to school with Families for Life (FFL)

Heading back to school in the new year can feel jarring after many weeks of play. Here’s how to make the transition easier for your children and you. With FFL, families in Singapore have access to a variety of programs and resources aimed at supporting parents in raising healthy and happy children. For instance, FFL offers complimentary evidence-based parenting programs like Triple P and Purposeful Play, which are available islandwide to help parents navigate the challenges of parenthood.

The FFL Parenting portal also provides a wide range of resources backed by research and experts to assist parents in nurturing strong family relationships. By tapping into these resources, you can ease the transition back to school and strengthen your family bonds.