The summer holidays are often full of trips, late nights, off schedule days and in general routines go out the window.  This is what we all love about summer, but it also makes getting back in to the new school year routine quite daunting.

Helping Kids Get Ready for a New School Year

Now that the summer holidays are drawing to a close we need to start thinking and planning for the new school year.  This not only includes what the kids need, but also how to ease them back into routine based days and nights.   We want our children to have an amazing start to the school year, so we need to priorities getting their routine back on track and ensuring they are well rested for that first day of school.

Want to know what you can do to give them the best start to their coming school year?  Read on for my top tips!

Start getting them into their school bedtime/wake up routine two weeks early.

If your children have been enjoying later bedtimes and wake up times during the summer holidays, you’ll need to get them used to the early bedtimes and early wake ups that go hand in hand with school.  Start this at least two weeks early by moving their bedtimes and wake up times by 15 minutes every couple of days.  The aim is to land at the school routine one week before school starts so they have a week to maintain and get used to it.

Re-establish a bedtime routine.

It is possible that your normal bedtime routine went out the window with the extended evenings over the summer.  Bedtime routines are incredibly important.  It provides a sleep cue that bedtime is coming as well as helping them wind down and relax before sleeping.  What you include in your routine is up to you, but some suggestions include: a bath, books, and quiet bedroom play.  If you have an older child you can instead suggest they quietly read in their bed for a half an hour before their designated bedtime.

No screen time before bed.

Children shouldn’t be using any screens for at least 1 hour before bedtime.  By screens I mean computers, phones, TV’s and tablets.  The blue light that is emitted from screens can inhibit a child’s ability to sleep.  Additionally if they are doing something on these screens that elicit high emotions (excitement, fear, sadness etc.), it can also make it difficult to calm down and relax into sleep as quickly.

For this reason, I always suggest keeping technology out of the bedroom, so that kids (especially older ones) don’t feel tempted to play when they should be asleep.  Kids with their own phone might decide to have conversations with their friends when they should be sleeping.  Children who miss out on sleep overnight find it more difficult to concentrate and learn when they are at school, so this is incredibly important.

Make getting ready for school charts.

It is important to get them physically ready for school with lots of rest and have them sleeping and waking a the right time; but they also need to be prepared for getting ready in time to leave the house again.  Do your kids find it hard to efficiently get ready for school, especially in the first few weeks of the school year?  To help them out with this you can sit down with them and draw up a chart of all they have to do every morning so they can check it off and practice for week before school.  For older kids a chart may not be as useful, but talking through the morning getting ready routine is still useful.

Be a role model for school preparedness.

The best way to get your children back in to a school routine and ready for school is to model appropriate behavior. Sit down with them and explain why bedtimes are moving earlier and why it is important.  That way they are on board you’re the change and more likely to go with the flow.  Talk with them about how they can prepare for the new school year and what you’ll be doing to help them, and you, prepare as well.  Who will be packing those school bags?  Whose responsibility is making school lunches?  Will you put out their clothes for the school days, or will they the night before?

Now that you have a plan for preparing yourself and your kids for the coming school year, I’d like to wish you and your kids the best of luck for a wonderful school year full of fun and learning!  And for those kids starting school for the first time this year, I hope you have an excellent time and make lots of friends and fun memories.