Just less than a week to the new (school) year! We often find the year end holidays speeding by rapidly, hastened by the festive-making, holiday programmes and annual family vacations. As the year-end school holidays end (groan!), it’s time to get back into the routines and prepare the children for the new school year!
Getting Ready for School
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
Sleep is an important factor for cognitive function, physical recovery and development, it is also critical for attentiveness in school. 7 to 12 year olds need 9 to 10 hours of sleep, while 13 to 17 year olds need 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Thus, a 6 am wake-up time would mean bedtime between 8 pm to 9 pm.
Give your child a few days to get accustomed to earlier bedtimes and waketimes. Set the alarm clocks and accommodate the “snooze times”.
#Protip Don’t use the mobile phones as an alarm as it tends to delay bedtimes by distracting users. Instead, leave them out of the room and use a conventional alarm clock or watch.
Running through the Daily Routine
There are tasks to complete daily when getting ready for school. Run through the tasks with your child. For instance, getting ready the school uniforms, socks and shoes the previous night would make the early morning dressing a lot quicker.
Rehearse putting on the uniforms especially the child will be entering Primary One in the new year. Also run through the packing of school bags (every evening), sharpen pencils, ensure pens are working and be equipped with a complete pencil case for school.
For older children, you may even want to teach them to iron their own uniforms, wash their own school shoes, pack their own snacks, make sandwiches for the lunchbox. This encourages independence and a sense of responsibility.
Scheduling together with the Kids
A brand-new school year may mean higher academic demands, more commitments or additions of extra-curricular activities. Together with your kids, determine a schedule for after school routines. Aside from timings set aside for meal times, homework, don’t forget outdoor and recreational time. Having your children determine the length of time for each segment usually means more buy-in and also imparts skills such as time management and prioritisation.
Budgeting for Recess and other Knick-knacks
Determine how much your child needs for recess and other knick-knacks like stationery. Be warned that the school bookshop will be where kids will be drawn to books, toys, interesting stationery and more. Hence, budgeting together and setting aside allowances, savings would equip children with the right “money sense” for planning purchases.
Goals for the New Year
It is also timely as the year draws to a close to make resolutions for the new year. Be it academic goals such as – practising more math, handing in homework on time or socio-emotional goals like managing anger, being more patient and having more discipline regarding device usage. It is good to take stock of current issues, work out solutions and personal goals for each child. Anticipating what is to come in the year ahead would also help ease the anxieties of the child and reassure the him or her that regardless of changes, family support is there.
Getting Equipped for School
After getting all school supplies ready, it is good to check if shirt/dress sizes have grown after the festive feasting. Last minute alterations might be necessary. A journal or diary might also be helpful to keep the child prepared for the new year. Writing a handwritten letter to your child on the first day of the new school year would be a great boost to his or her confidence and start the year on a bright note.
Back to School and Back into the Routine
Enjoy the rest of the holidays, spending family time together is especially precious. Here’s wishing all of our readers a wonderful new year and a smooth-sailing preparation heading back to school.