It’s time to say hello to the books and bags as the blissful holidays come to an end for the kids. Frazzled about getting the kids back on the schoolday routine? Here’s a handy checklist for all mums and dads to make sure that nothing gets missed out on that all-important first day back to school!
1. Get back to routine Routines get dropped during the holidays – and rightly so. But to ensure your child gets off to a good start for the new half year, it might be a good idea to get back into the school bedtime routine a few days before school starts. This way, your child will feel better, perform better at school and be less grumpy. Be firm about your child’s protests about not needing sleep. Tell your child sleep is the time bodies grow and repair. Children in Singapore are often short on sleep. Children vary in their needs but most six- to seven-year-olds need at least nine hours of sleep at night. Lack of sleep is linked to obesity and inattention at school. Remove all electronic devices from the child’s room.
2. Check those sizes
Shoes and clothes still fit?
Try on your child’s uniform and school shoes for size. He or she may have had a growth spurt and need a new outfit. Label new items clearly and show your child where his name is.
3. Need new snack box and water bottle?
Make sure your child’s snack box and water bottles are not worn out.
Check your child’s snack box and water bottle and buy new ones if needed. Make sure that your child can open them easily and independently. School staff are busy people.
4. Holiday homework See that any holiday work has been completed.
5. Check school bag
Is your child’s school bag missing anything?
Together, check the school bag and get your child to pack books for the new term. Look at your child’s pencil case and see that he/she has all the necessary items – and that pencils are sharpened. If your child is forgetful, make a picture check list together and put it by the door so he/she has a reminder before leaving the house. This cuts down on nagging.
6. Look forward to the new term Chat positively and enthusiastically about the new term – being upbeat about seeing school friends and teachers again and getting involved in activities. This is the time to let any worries surface and coach your child on how to negotiate any problems.
7. Do not nag or compare
Avoid setting high expectations for your child.
Avoid ‘sermons’ about having to work harder this term, teachers having higher expectations and how hard other children work. Your child is unique – making comparisons breeds resentment.
8. Eat healthy Healthy eating and drinking routines may need to be re-established. Get back into eating healthy breakfasts with nutritious drinks like fruit smoothies if your child is more of a drinker than an eater. Keep the colours and appearance of the food attractive. Set a good example yourself. Have the whole family rise early a few days before school starts and do something like a walk, jog or swim together before having a healthy breakfast of bread, noodles, oats or rice porridge, or unsweetened cereal. Add in milk, fresh or dried fruit.
9. Pack nutritious snacks It is important to pack nutritious but tasty snacks for school, especially if your child is a fussy eater. Avoid food with high sugar content. Good choices include wholemeal or oat biscuits, soft brown bread, cheese, nuts and dried fruit. Crunchy veggie sticks like carrots or cucumber are good if your child likes them. You can also pack a bottle of PediaSure Ready To Drink to ensure that your child is getting all the nutrients he needs daily. Request for a free sample here.
About the author Kathleen Chia is a parent, grandparent, teacher, educator and writer who has lived and worked in Singapore for most of her professional life. She holds a teaching qualification and a Master’s degree in Child Development with Early Childhood Education from the University of London. In addition, Kathleen is a qualified parenting course leader and has conducted parenting courses in the UK and in Singapore. She has also been involved in setting up and volunteering in toy libraries, a school for children with special needs and in helping children facing challenges in learning to read. She has written and published numerous books and learning materials for young children and is a contributor to the preschool section of The Essential Guide For First-Time Asian Mums and Dads, from Pregnancy to Preschool published by Marshall Cavendish in 2011.