Summer holidays are almost done and its time to head back to school. The last week of the holidays is quite crucial as all the planning, getting children back into routine and getting yourself organised needs to be done.
Be it a stay at home mum or a working mother, getting back to school can be quite stressful.
Here are some top tips from successful mums on how to ease back into the school routine…
Dr. Saliha Afridi, PsyD. (US) - Clinical Psychologist/Managing Director of LightHouse Arabia
Get into the back to school routine a few days before the actual day. Bedtime, waking up time, shower time, tech time, reading/homework time, all should have their place days in advance. This would also be a good time to start a healthy diet and detox from technology.
It’s a fact that your child's IQ points can drop during the summer. As well as getting your children to eat the right foods, use the workbooks or Apps to review the material from the year they have just completed. Getting them to think academically before school starts will make them feel more confident and help them with the transition, as well get that part of their brain working again (just don’t go overboard and do too much of it!).
Mona Atayer - CEO and Founder of Mumzworld.com
Shopping for back to school can be a pretty stressful experience, especially for the parents but getting your kids helping with this task can make it fun and a lot easier! Sit with the kids and get them to make a list of everything they need, you can even take it one step further and get them to create a collage of all the back to school essentials they want/need. The internet is a very valuable source of information and inspiration, so searching for the key back to school items together couldn’t be easier – absolutely no need to be trawling through the malls all day.
Back to school is a critical milestone in parents and kids lives. It is a moment that the kids cherish and is filled with emotional stress. It is important to set some time aside (maybe through one-on-one dates) to talk through their feelings. Last but not least, get some ‘me’ time to keep yourself energised; exercise, go to a spa, etc. A healthy home starts with a healthy and happy mum!
Rana Mani - Founder of Stepping Stones Academy
Organisation & time management skills need to be re-visited, as the summer break tends to slacken those responsibilities. Encourage your children to put away toys after playtime, put away dishes after meals and even clothes before bath time. This will help them grasp concepts such as organisation and order that are integral to a classroom. Encourage them to have their school bag and uniform (where applicable) ready the night before and for the older ones, ask them to assist with putting their lunch together, for example.
Get them out and about. I am certain that many parents have been guilty of using technology as a crutch this summer. I encourage both parents and children to take some time out of each day to head outside and enjoy nature in all its splendour. By doing so you’ll be encouraging your children to move, appreciate the environment and hopefully do their bit to keep it intact when the time comes.
I always suggest a visit to the school closer to your child’s start date to check out the assigned classroom and perhaps meet the teacher. This is a great way to put both parent and child at ease and make them familiar with the space.
Halima Jumani - Director of Kibsons
Planning ahead, setting some simple goals and milestones for the new academic year can be a great way to start. Setting aside an afternoon to help children reflect on the past year, tune into positive thoughts, and write down what they would like to achieve this year – physically, mentally and academically – would be planning like a boss!
Thinking about a simple fitness routine (even 15 minutes before school) and chalking out a healthy snack plan can set the kids on the right track for a healthy mind and healthy body experience. Add to that an early sleeping routine and you can be assured that they are ready to perform their absolute best at school.
Dalia Saied - Founder of Mumsandbumps.com
Help create a positive anticipation for their first day, it would be great to remind your child of the different activities they had, arts/crafts they designed, memories they shared, moments captured, school trips, events held at school, etc. which you know will make them look forward to repeating this experience!
It is important to remind them that they will reunite with their friends and meet new ones which will keep them excited for this new journey!
Hayley Doyle - Founder of Hayley’s Comet Kids Theatre Company
Get a new wall calendar and different coloured pens. This can be a fun way of planning the new school year and will clear your mind to see the weeks ahead in writing!
Set aside an hour, put your favourite songs on, and choose ONE messy drawer in your home to sort out and completely empty. Keep it empty until the school year begins, and fill it with all the new letters, notes, admin, tasks needed for the term ahead. You will know exactly where the information is whenever you need it!
Suzanne Browne - Founder of ClevaMama
The week before: start working on the bedtime and wake-up times routine, go shopping for school supplies and complete school paperwork
The night before: prepare your clothes, pack lunch and backpack.
The first day of school: get up earlier just to make sure you have plenty of time in case incidents like “can’t find my shoe” will happen (hopefully not), before leaving eat breakfast and don’t forget to bring a camera to take pictures.
Catherine Williams - Women's Health and Fitness Coach
Holidays means fun and games, family BBQs and late meals not to mention getting spoilt by their grandparents, uncles & aunties and godparents, I always always made sure my kids get a good dose of multivitamins (and sometimes probiotics) for as much of their holiday as possible. And when we fly back to Dubai, we have 'airport water-offs' – it’s a 'gentle' competition to see who can drink the most water door to door from holiday spot to being back in our own home....that way we were all as hydrated as we could possibly be and I always found this made the travel easier to deal with for me.
The day before school starts is crucial though. Everyone needs to be as calm and balanced as possible for a good night of sleep so we do something together. It’s hot, so probably cooking or Uno or even a 20 minute funny HIIT session (everyone picks a daft exercise to do) and we settle down EARLY for a really easy movie from when they were really young with a home cooked meal - even just pizza and salad or tacos or something so there is both fun and nutrition in there. When the movie finishes we put some sophoric music on and get them into bed while I lay absolutely everything out for the morning so healthy breakfast is easy on tired kids . This breakfast layout doesn’t last much beyond September but it’s a good start!
Jacqui McCumiskey - Managing Director, Ener Beauty
Always buy the school uniforms well in advance! If you wait until a couple of weeks before school starts you will probably find out they are out of stock of the most popular sizes and your child will not be a happy bunny going to school in no uniform when everyone else is all complete!
Start preparing your child mentally to think about going back to the school environment a couple of weeks before the start date. We always start giving her a couple of school type projects to do or start going over Maths and English before going back after such a long break away. We find it helps her a lot.
Therese, Nourhan, Simona, Ines and Claudia - Founders of Qidz.com
Does your house only just starting stirring around midday in the holidays? Maybe now is a good time to dust off the alarm clocks and get everyone used to rising when the sun does and back on schedule.
Brush up on your study skills - Introducing a few activities that use problem solving, comprehension and require focus are a good way to get their brains into gear.
Plan your after school activities - Extra curricular activities are an important way to keep the kids engaged, developing new skills and socializing in a positive environment. If it’s to fill in the time while you’re working or simply to expose the kids to a new type of fun, there’s lots of options to choose from.
Katie Fielder - Broadcaster
I like to set one-two hours aside every fortnight to stock the freezer with some easy school lunch box ideas. I like to make energy balls filled with pumpkin seeds, oats, coconut, dried fruit and chia seeds (anything nut-free to keep it school-friendly), carrot and apple cinnamon muffins, healthy banana bread, sweet potato and corn pancakes, turkey parmesan and basil meatballs etc. Make little bags of homemade popcorn (the oil-free kind) or homemade muesli to stash in the pantry cupboard for healthy but satisfyingly crunchy lunchbox snacks.
That way, on the actual school morning it only takes a couple of minutes to add some fresh fruit, veggie sticks and a piece of cheese or frozen yoghurt box to their lunch boxes. Other freezer staples like packets of edamame beans or ‘smoothie bags’ are a big help when you haven’t had time for a mid-week grocery shop.