The school holidays are officially over and parents across the state are breathing a sigh of relief as their children head back to school. But now as the official 2019 school year has commenced it is time to reintroduce daily routines and expectations, or begin implementing new ones that suit your current circumstances and needs. Whether you have a child transitioning to school, a change of work arrangements, a teenager moving into high school or have moved and need to accommodate a new job and school into the mix – there are some simple ways to manage the back to school bedlam.
1. Be organised. Talk about expectations of bedtimes, technology usage and homework. Allocate jobs to each family member. Try to ensure uniforms and lunches are prepared before the day (even just the night before) to make the morning routine run smoothly. Label all school belongings and have a designated tidy space for bags. Prepare an area for homework with adequate equipment.
2. Create a daily and weekly schedule or timetable. You might like to do this for each family member and include household tasks, extracurricular activities, homework and library/sport days. Also, have a large calendar displayed in a central position in your home. Encourage all your family members to check the calendar before making plans and write any special occasions, appointments, school holidays at the beginning of each year.
3. Regularly ‘check-in’ with your child’s teacher. Many working parents feel disconnected to school because they very rarely get to pick up or drop off. A way to combat this is to connect to the class teacher via email or through any school messaging platform once or twice a term just to touch base and check that your child is going okay, but also to let the teacher know of any concerns you may have. Open lines of communication are a must for a good home-school relationship.
4. Allow for changes – be flexible. Not everything will go according to plan so roll with it.
5. Get enough sleep (that includes you too Mum and Dad). Try not to overcommit to too many evening activities.
6. Ask for help if you need it. It takes a village to raise a child so find your tribe and create your network. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance with drop offs and pickups. When you are able, offer the same things to others. We are all in this together.
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.