The holidays are finishing and the kids are all “bored”… it’s time to go back to school!

Some of us cry ‘yippee!’ while others are sad to get back into the routine of the daily grind (packing lunches, drop-offs/pick-ups and finding weeks-old reminder notes and old fruit through the school bags).

For some, with children starting at a new school or daycare, saying ‘goodbye’ will be one of the hardest things about this time of year. Some children will grab their early education experiences with two hands, run and not look back. For others, they will find each new experience a bit daunting.

Whatever the case in your household, here are some tips to help your young people as they transition into a new setting. Also, some gentle reminders about what to expect emotionally from them and us.

Go easy on yourself!

Firstly, the essentials!

  • Keep your kids energized with enough water and good food for their busy days. Making sure little ones are familiar with water bottles and food containers (how they work and where they are in their bags) will help them be able to feed and water themselves throughout the day.
  • Try to minimize rubbish by sending reusable containers

I know, more washing up and more things to name but familiar personal items will help children feel secure and will teach them early about looking after their belongings. Food stays fresher in sealed containers even when prepped the night before (so far I’m organized, let’s see how long it lasts!).

  • SLEEP! Keep the bedtime routine as calm and normal as possible so everyone is rested (and so parents get some down time).
  • New structure and fending for themselves. Yes, there are handwriting skills and maths problems to learn but before any of that can happen, our young ones need to negotiate a new structure to their day and cope with fending for themselves in the school/kindy environment.

This can be overwhelming for even the most easy-going child, and they may come home completely exhausted.

  • Be prepared to hear EVERYTHING about their day, or NOTHING, or even for them to fall asleep on the way home (my first preppie lasted until day 4 then crashed on the couch before dinner). As well as being physically demanding, their new routines will be emotionally trying as they cope with social interactions and classroom rules.
  • Pent up emotion may spill over at home – their safe place – over something that may seem trivial. Be mindful a good cry or an angry outburst could be a sign our young ones need to process some of those emotions. Encourage them to cry it out or have a good run around outside, let them know it’s understandable they are feeling confused.
  • Concentrating on the positive experiences of the early days is a great idea – remember, our attitudes can shape our children’s outlook – but be ready to listen if a child raises something of concern. Again, it might seem like an insignificant thing to be worried about, but usually being able to share an upset goes a long way to firstly dispersing the worry all together and then finding the courage to face their fear.

Giving our kids the space to process THEIR feelings can be terribly draining on OUR resources as parents! We’ve all heard we should ‘put our feet up’ when the house is empty (or less full, with those of us with younger dependents) but it IS good advice.

Being strong, capable and unflappable constantly is not achievable – I was a mess at the end of last week (new Kindy week). By Friday all I could do was blob in front of the telly. I had never experienced it before but my third child’s initial days of childcare were, well, emotional for everyone!

Carve out some time for self-care, not just because you deserve it (you do) but so you can continue to support everyone else who needs you.


And Kiddies – go get ‘em


You may also like to read:

5 Tips for getting ready for school on time 

Back to school checklist 

How to motivate your kids in the morning 

Time to let go 

Getting ready for Kindy