You’ve come to the end of the December school holidays and suddenly, you and your children realise that you will soon need to face the inevitable change in life that starting the school year will bring. You contemplate with growing horror the prospect of waking up at 5.30 in the morning, fetching and sending your kids to school and CCAs, re-starting tuition classes and dealing with homework and other issues. You wonder how you are going to adjust to it all, let alone your children!

Getting over those “back to school” blues is all part and parcel of the new year. With a little bit of preparation, you can make it less traumatic both for yourself as well as for your children. 

Re-Stock and Re-Supply

Look through your kids’ school uniforms, shoes and socks. If they’ve grown you might need to buy new ones for them. Make sure you have all the textbooks prepared and that stationery items, school bags, MRT cards and student IDs are all up to date and ready for use. If you need to make arrangements for school transport, re-confirm the pickup times and estimated return times. 

Get to Know the New Time Table

Confirm the new time table if you are able to do so. Take note of school start times, CCA days and school gate opening times. Having an idea of this will allow you to plan any other extra-curricular activities better. 

Re-Set Your Sleep Schedules

At least 1 week before school starts, get the whole family to switch over from the typical “late to bed and late to wake” routine and back into the “early to bed and early to rise” routine. You might face some resistance here, but it is better than dealing with cranky kids who refuse to get out of bed when the school term starts. It helps if you switch some of your other activities around too. If you’ve been eating dinner at 7.30pm, you might want to start dinners at 6.30pm for your kids and yourself so that their evening ends earlier and their whole routine shifts up by 1  hour without them really noticing it. 

Set Up a Homework Zone

Once school start, the homework will also begin to pour in. Get ready to deal with it by setting up a homework zone for your kids. Tidy up the desks and clear away the space. Ideally, homework areas should be permanent and away from the noisiest part of your home. 

Don’t Over-Schedule Your Kids

Take a look at all the activities which your kids will need to participate in. Factor in time spent for homework assignments and travel to and fro. If the schedule looks packed and involves your kids having to eat lunch in the car on the way to different activities, then you need to think carefully about which to prioritise. You will want to keep your schedule as light as possible at the beginning of the school year. This will allow you to move commitments around more easily, give your kids some breathing space and deal with any unplanned requirements which may come up. 

Talk to Your Kids about Returning to School

This is possibly the most important thing which you can do. Spend some time with your kids to talk to them about returning to school. If they have any fears and concerns encourage them to bring them up. Focus on the positives of going back to school such as the chance to see their best friends every day and the ability to re-start some of their favourite cca activities. Watch out for signs of stress and worry and try to understand what you can do to address them.