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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 19 August, 2019

9 tips that make the return to school as stress-free as possible, according to parents

It’s that time again…

Image: Shutterstock

AND JUST LIKE that, September is right around the corner and it’s time for the kids to go back to school. 

From picking the right backpack, ordering and collecting books to trying to dig out the school tie, planning and preparing for the return to school can feel like a test in itself. 

So, what’s the best way to make everything go as smoothly as possible and without any tears (from you or your child)?

We asked parents to share their best tips that they’ve picked up over the years to make going back to school as stress-free as it can be. Their recommendations range from getting their child involved in picking out what they need for the year to ordering online to cut out stress…

1. Agree on something to look forward to

shutterstock_285696254 Source: Shutterstock/Purino

The first couple of weeks back are really hard on kids. They have had so much fun over the summer and now it’s back to school. Making them go straight back to bed early, no treats and expecting lots of study makes it awful for them, so I always say to my son in the first few weeks back that we are going to have a treat each week to make it nicer for him. Maybe it’s going to the cinema one evening or having a chocolate bar or something small, just to make it nicer for him.

- Laura

2. Set a date to have everything ready by 

element5-digital-OyCl7Y4y0Bk-unsplash Source: Unsplash

Pretend they are going back to school two weeks before they are and plan to be ready on that date. Every year, order their uniform and books as soon as they get holidays and then forget about them. Collect them well in advance of school opening, otherwise there are always bits of uniform that are out of stock and books that have to be waited for. 

- Rosie 

3. Have a positive attitude

shutterstock_300014810 Source: Shutterstock/Nataliya Arzamasova

Talk positively about the upcoming year for at least a week or two before they go back to get them excited. I hate over-hearing parents say stuff like “now you’ll be out of my hair!” or “if you get less than this grade, you’re grounded”. It makes the child view school in a negative way and builds anxiety before they even get a chance to try.

- Chelsea

4. Implement your morning routine a few weeks in advance

shutterstock_1074888521 Source: Shutterstock/Evgeny Atamanenko

One thing my mother advised was to start getting the bedtimes and getting up time back to normal gradually over the two/three weeks before they go back to school.  Otherwise they really crash in the first few weeks back – and it’s good for the parents too!

- Áine

5. Get them involved in the process

shutterstock_668122594 Source: Shutterstock/catalin eremia

I normally bring my daughter with me to let her pick out her school bag, her lunch box and water bottle so she is aware that she is returning to school. I always find that talking to her about the return, telling her she is going into the bigger class and talking to her about her teacher etc is good as she always finds it hard to return after long stints away. 

- Amy 

6. Make time for meal prep – and don’t freak out

shutterstock_1094017400 Source: Shutterstock/Fortyforks

Do a big food shop the week before they go back and make up some dinners for the freezer like chilli and bolognese as the first few weeks can be hectic. Also, don’t freak out if they are up very late during the first week. After a few late nights and early mornings and lots of learning, they will be back to normal in no time!

- Laura 

7. Get organised together

shutterstock_457676323 Source: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Help the kids to do a big tidy of their room before they go back to school. Involve them in any organising that has to be done. Mostly by the end of the holidays they are ready to go back and are looking forward to a new start and seeing all of their friends again. Encourage this positive attitude! Get a wall calendar to write up all school and after school events and put it up where everyone can see it and use it. 

- Rosemary 

8. Order online, if you can 

shutterstock_1319345711 Source: Shutterstock/fizkes

Ordering online removes a lot of hassle and, as a working mam, I treat myself to getting the books covered. Gone are the days of using wallpaper to cover the books! 

- Maria 

9. Ease in to the return

shutterstock_714721672 Source: Shutterstock/4 PM production

The first week or so will be tiring and challenging. This will inevitably lead to mood swings when they arrive home. Resist the temptation to ask 20 questions and let them unwind – all will slowly be revealed in time. Also, take time to read the school journal – everything you need to know about the school should be in there. 

- Philomena

Get set for school at Life Style Sports with everything you need from personalised school bags to PE gear and footwear. Whatever your child’s style, Life Style Sports has what they need to stand out in a world of uniform, and offers next day delivery with a 10pm cut off, for those last minute purchases! See the full back to school range here.

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