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Back to School Tips for Parents

The start of a new academic year can be a challenging time for children and families. Parents can support their children with this significant transition by planning ahead and taking small steps. Here are some back to school tips for younger kids from The Maudsley Child and Adolescent Clincial Team.

  • Back to routine: Re-establishing routines that may have changed during the holiday period. Returning to a regular pattern of sleeping and waking is particularly important. Consider the need to reduce screen-time (e.g. iPad or videogame time), particularly before bed and the need for gradual changes in bedtimes e.g. 10 minutes earlier each night.  Preparing clothes and school bag the night before and allowing enough time to complete all activities in the mornings before school. This can help you and your child to avoid unnecessary stress in the morning, and set children up to have a more positive day at school.

    Involving children in routines that help them to feel prepared for the next day of school. You might encourage them to participate in making/packing preferred lunches, organise their school materials and school bag, and review their timetable/schedule for the next day at school.

  • Talk to them: Talking to children about how they are feeling about the return to school. It is important to empathise with and normalise any nerves or worries that they may have. Asking children to reflect on the enjoyable aspects of the last academic year can be very useful as part of this discussion.

  • Play dates: Organising opportunities for your child to see peers outside of school. This can help children to ease back into positive social routines. It is particularly important for children who are attending a new school and those who have not spent much time with peers over the summer.
  • Ask for help: Some children will need more support than others with the transition back to school. If your child appears to be struggling, consider speaking with student support staff at school or the school counsellor. If difficulties persist or are very severe, consider talking to a specialist mental health professional.

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