As we near the end of the summer break here in the UK, it’s time to start thinking about getting into routine and preparing your child for the school days ahead.
Don’t you remember, as a child, the groan you gave out when the end of the holidays loomed? And then when you are a parent, it’s almost a little (inside) cry of joy that life can resume into a pattern again?! Lol!
What we need to do as parents is fill that gap between holiday and school so that children can be eased into learning again, especially if you have completely switched off for the summer.
So, this week, I have 5 tips for getting back in the swing and re-booting the (school) learning brain so that the first week back isn’t a complete disaster!
ONE: Don’t worry. Children learn even when they (and we) think they aren’t! During the summer, even if you haven’t dipped into any school-type work, they will have been learning ‘life stuff’ instead. This is just as important for their brains and offers a different type of learning. If they love creative activities, their brain will definitely have been stimulated, with plenty of problem-solving and innovation going on! If they like science, I bet they used the time to explore and see what was around them or used their curious mind in other scenarios. Depending on their “passion”, they have learnt different ways, but they will have learnt!
TWO: Don’t panic! If your child’s teacher set holiday work and you completely forgot, don’t panic. If it was a holiday diary, get some prints ordered from your phone of days out and make an annotated scrapbook. I just ordered some photos for free (P&P only) using an app. There are plenty out there to choose from, so you don’t even need to leave the house! Create the scrapbook from different pieces of paper or card to add fun and colour. Why not rummage through the paper recycle? They don’t even need to be the same size! Think outside the box a bit with any last-minute work – photos, video, a song, a dance…
THREE: Don’t push. Your child has just had a considerable time away from structured learning. Don’t expect them to sit and do stuff just to get into the routine again. But, if you have had a very relaxed timetable through the summer, now is a great time to start to build the routine again. Have a set wake up time (no, not as early as school, but consistent) and have breakfast together. Set some reading time at the end of the day, where you sit together and read. Encourage reading to you – take it in turns if they are reluctant. If they prefer to read alone, still set the time to do that if it has disappeared during the break. Older children will understand the reasoning behind starting a routine again and it sets them up for life beyond primary school (although teenagers might disagree!! Lol!). Think of other areas or times you could start a routine, especially if you are still working and you have childcare through the summer.
FOUR: Have fun! Use some of the games tips from last week’s blog to start building times tables confidence or begin playing board games or word games. Wordle is great for older children, as are anagrams. You can find plenty of apps but playing together is better because of the interactions and discussions (read: arguments… 🤣) around the game and the answers. Maybe start a board games evening on a certain day of the week. This could definitely carry on, as this type of game is so beneficial to learning and social development.
FIVE: Socialise. If you’ve been so busy with work/family/holidays you haven’t had chance to catch up with classmates, now is the time! Book some play dates with friends they haven’t seen for a while, maybe even an end of summer sleepover! The bonds won’t have broken, but it’s good to have a catch up – we all do it as adults, don’t we? I have friends I don’t see regularly but we meet and pick up where we left off! Kids are the same and it’s good to spark those connections again before they get through the school gates and must fit the chat and catch up between lessons. Younger children may not do the whole catch-up thing but re-connecting with class buddies and playing new or old games makes the return to school much smoother!
However you decide to build up your end of summer transition, it will always be easier if you do it. The hardest thing is getting back into routine on the day. It makes everyone irritable and can cause some un-necessary anxiety, which is the last thing you as a parent wants to see. The more time you allow for the transition, the better, but a week seems a good fit for most (if you haven’t booked a last-minute flight somewhere!). You want the fist day to be as smooth as possible!
I hope this has helped. Comment below and let me know your thoughts and share any other ideas you have for making back to school as easy as possible ⬇️
And although summer is coming to an end, there is so much to come! Autumn brings with it many fun celebrations and is my favourite time of year! Is it yours?
See you next week
Don't let the creativity vibes of summer dull over the school term. Join my creative membership where you receive monthly workshops to keep you inspired and parenting tips to help you develop your child's creativity - which can only be a good thing, right?! Find out more at www.cygninicrafts.com/grow