While you may still be enjoying the summer with your kids, the new school year isn’t far ahead. Besides worrying about school supplies, parents also have to help their kids make a transition back into the school routine. Below are ten back-to-school tips to help with a smooth transition.
1. Lists, lists, lists! Make lists of all the things that have to be done prior to starting school, some list items will be mentioned below. Put the lists in a prominent place, on the fridge with a magnet seems to be a popular place.
2. Start getting into a routine a few days before school starts, early to bed, an earlier rise and most importantly a good breakfast to provide fuel for the brain! Eggs, muesli, fresh fruit, yogurt, toast and honey make a great start to the day! Don’t forget the night before to pack a healthy lunch or give money to buy from lunch from the cafeteria.
3. Dig out last year’s uniform and make sure it fits, some children can grow a size or two over the summer holiday and if you leave it to the last minute to buy uniform you may be very disappointed that the popular sizes and items are out of stock! Also make sure that you have read the school required supplies list.
4. Designate an area of the house where all school items can be stored and picked up from, school bags, PE kit (clean), shoes, lunch boxes. This will save playing the game of “Where’s my….” every morning. For the best start to the day, lay out uniforms, pack bags etc. the night before.
5. For older kids agreeing on a homework timetable (i.e. time to set aside in the afternoons, evenings or weekend) prior to the start of the school year is a good move. Working out where homework is recorded so all are aware of the tasks in hand and create a permanent, designated area equipped with all the necessary tools, pens, pencils, eraser, sellotape, glue, calculator, a computer and printer (buy spare ink) etc.
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6. Start getting your child’s brain into gear, there are lots of websites that provide problem solving activities for children of all ages through Maths, English and logic games; a quick Google search will reveal the most popular ones. Junior IQ tests are fun but don’t take the results too seriously!
7. Choose a time when your child is relaxed to discuss any fears or apprehensions they might have about the new school year especially if they are going to a school for the first time. Reassure them that whenever problems occur there are support mechanisms at home and at school to help them face new challenges or to solve problems.
8. For parents, make sure you go through the school website and check on the school timings and the arrangements for the first day. Also check policies on such items as mobile phones, lunch boxes (most schools are nut free zones and many do not allow fizzy drinks and crisps to be packed), schools often use the summer to change some of the rules. You may also be asked to sign a KHDA School/Parent contract, take some time to read it; there is important information in there. Make sure you have put key contact numbers and names from the school into your smart phone. Also if your child travels on school transport get the bus nanny’s and the company’s contact details! Most important, make sure that you have paid your school fees, there is nothing more embarrassing than finding out your child’s name is not on the class list! If driving your child to school make sure your car is fitted with any safety seats you might use and make sure it has fuel in it so that you do not have to stop at the petrol station on the first morning!
9. On returning home on the first day make sure you unpack the schoolbag with your child, it will be stuffed with new information, timetables, lists, contact numbers, if left information items will rapidly disintegrate and disappear! (Put them on the fridge!). Make sure that if there are any after school activities available to sign up for you return the form as soon as possible as the most popular options are snapped up quickly!
10. Finally, buy an old fashioned year calendar with spaces you can write in. Start writing all the important dates on it, such as parent’s evenings, open days, concerts, holidays etc. so that all the family can see them at a glance and update it as events are published. Most Dubai schools are using a multi-platform smart app like the Communicator to send news and alerts to parents, make sure that you have downloaded it and it is working.
This article was written by Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communications at Taaleem , a school management company which runs schools such as Dubai British School, Uptown School and Al-Mizhar American Academy.