Tips and Tricks to Get in the Back To School Groove!

For many children and young people, heading back to school in late January is exciting! However for others, it can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety due to a range of reasons. The summer holidays are close to ending, with Term One starting on the 23rd of January for kids in Queensland. We’re sure that you’re ticking off class supply lists with trips to Officeworks, ensuring your children are prepared, and noting important school dates in your 2023 diary. To help alleviate the stress of back to school for you and your young ones, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite tips and tricks!

Tip 1 – Step away from tech!

After a summer full of relaxation, it can be tricky to seperate young people from their screens -it’s even difficult to do as an adult! Between TikTok and YouTube, online gaming, and messaging their friends, using tech for leisure is common amongst kids and teens.

But spending too much time on tech can lead to a lack of sleep, fatigue, and a decrease in overall wellbeing, which is not what you want when heading back to school! Therefore, limiting technology usage in the lead up to starting school can help make sure that your young person is at their best, and prepared for early morning starts.

However, this doesn’t mean cutting tech all together! In fact, kids these days often have to use technology for their education, such as during class and when doing homework. Instead of scrapping all tech use, try reducing their use of tech for leisure in the lead up to school. This can be done by setting screen time restrictions, or implementing a tech free time period, or zone, in your household!

Tip 2 – Get back into a routine!

During school time, kids (and their parents, guardians or carers) are often caught up in a strict routine, which includes breakfast, school pick up and drop offs, school and classes, homework, dinner time, and relaxing! But on the holidays, when we all have more free time, these routines tend to get lost.

Bringing back elements of this routine, such as bed times, set times to wake up and dinner time can help to prepare kids and teens for the reality of heading back to school.

A great tip for organising this is to grab a monthly planner (like this one from Officeworks), and writing out a schedule for the month with school days, extracurricular activities, and anything else written in! Or, if you want to be more specific, grab a weekly planner (find one here!) and jot down specific times and activities.

Tip 3 – Create a school zone!

Get in the zone! As we all learnt during the peak of the pandemic, mixing work and home life can be emotionally draining… and it’s the exact same for work and school! Creating a specific zone where your young people can do their school work and store school equipment, like their bag, shoes and any assignments, can be helpful for two great reasons:

  1. It gives them a space to get in the zone while they get ready for school or do school work. After getting used to working in this zone, soon just being in the zone will be a great motivator as their brain associates it with school.
  2. It allows the rest of the house to be a stress free space! This means that their bedroom, the living room and the dining room/kitchen are certified school work free zones, allowing your kids and teens to feel more comfortable.

Make sure this school zone is well lit, functional, and designed for their needs. You can use furniture and items that you already have, and keep it low key, or have some fun decorating!

Tip 4 – Prepare lunches in advance!

We know that packing lunches can be draining, for adults and kids alike! Not only can it be left to the last minute, leading to an unsatisfying lunch, but they can be stressful to put together in the busy hussle and bussle of the mornings.

Instead of preparing lunch in a rush before school, try collaborating with your kids and teens to spend half an hour on the weekend preparing their lunch for the week! This could mean organising snacks, pre-making sandwiches and food, or even precutting fruit and veg – anything that will make a difference in your household.

Tip 5 – Talk about their feelings!

Whether they’re worried about starting at a new school, being in a new class away from friends or starting a new grade, there are lots of things that can seem daunting to kids before the school year. It’s important to make sure that kids know that these feelings are valid and normal! Make sure when discussing to validate how they feel before providing coping solutions.

Here’s how we would do it:

  • Talk about how they feel, ask questions and listen.
  • Validate how they feel, and empathise by sharing a story of when you were nervous or stressed.
  • Teach them a way to calm their nerves, like deep breathing, spotting items, or counting backwards from 10.
  • Talk through scenarios that worry them. Discuss what may happen, and understand their biggest concerns.
  • Share strategies to mitigate these worries. Think of ways to make new friends, or how to talk to people on the first day.

Tip 6 – Celebrate going back to school!

Our final tip – and maybe the most important – is to celebrate going back to school. The transition back to school is only difficult or a burden if you think of it as one!

Instead, try a special back to school activity! This could be:

  • A back to school dinner where the child or teen picks what the family eats
  • A small party with cake and balloons
  • Doing their favourite activity as a family
  • Picking out a special back to school thing, like a book, pens, or stationary that is just theirs

Finally, make sure to snap a pic of their first day! Each year is a huge milestone – how awesome that they are there!

Other activities and fun!

Still looking for back to school ideas? Here is a free, printable colouring in activity! Or, you can check out some of our recent blog posts for other inspiration.

We wish everyone a very happy and stress free back to school time!