Returning to school in September is typically a time of mixed emotions for many families – the end of long, lazy summer days surrounded by friends and family. It also marks the return of early starts, structure, the after school dash between clubs, activities and fixtures and, of course, homework. From bare feet to shiny new shoes, it’s a time of adjustment in every sense. For this term, it is likely that these feelings will be further intensified by the fact that a number of children have not been at school since late March. The normal uncertainties, and frisson of excitement that heralds the start of a new school year, will be accentuated by the new unpredictability which influences how we now live.
So how best can you prepare your child for the start of this new school year? As ever, the advice which follows is no more than common sense. Whenever we think about how best to support our children at times of change we should look to ensure the basics are in place first: sleep, nutrition, play and individual attention. These four areas are as significant for your teenager as they are for your four year-old starting school for the first time. Here are my ten suggestions:
1. In the days leading to the return to school, and in the early weeks of term, re-establish a good bedtime routine. This is always important at the end of a long summer but even more so now. Many children will have less stamina than usual, either because they have been more sedentary than normal over the last few months or because the stimulation of school is overwhelming after many weeks off.