If you’ve been thinking about how to get your kids out of holiday mode and prepared for back to school, then know that you’re not alone!
It sure has been a long school holiday. It’s been a WHOLE three weeks. I didn’t take any annual leave because I usually take that during December, so Liam basically sat at home all day, every day, and he was super bored. He had a friend over for some of the time and he spent some time at his friends place too. He also spent some time out here and there for a day or two but it wasn’t quite the holiday he expected, like the December holidays, where we’re pretty much out and about every day.
So even though he didn’t have the busiest holiday, I’ve been thinking that I need to get Liam back into school mode before the holidays come to an end. If you read one of my previous blog posts about the homework crisis, you will know that the next term is crucial for us. I can’t see that we are the only family facing this and I’ve been thinking a lot about preparing Liam to get back into school mode. I don’t think the night before will be enough time. This is what I came up with and I started with it this week.
1. Back to early nights
I started mentioning to Liam earlier this week that he will be going to bed early again and no more late nights. This should help with getting up earlier in the mornings as well.
2. Cut out the “junk” food
I’m embarrassed to say that Liam has had a lot of “junk” food this holiday. Chips and sweets and take-outs. I try to ensure that he does not have any of that during a school week day. It’s very difficult, but we supported by his teacher who doesn’t allow it either, so this helps too. It really does affect mood, behaviour, and concentration at school. I will be talking more about this in an upcoming post. So I believe if I start with it now, it will help prepare mind and body.
3. Lots of prep talk
Prep talk can do wonders. Don’t confuse this with straight talk though. Simply reminding him to remember that school is about to start will not help and will simply defeat the purpose. Furthermore, if we engage in a conversation with our kids that includes something like “I’m so not looking forward to going back to work” or “I’m so not looking forward to doing homework again”, you will be giving the wrong message. Abort that mission immediately!
I’m talking more along the lines of, “so you’re going to be seeing your school friends again soon, I’m sure they missed you” or “I’m sure your teacher is looking forward to seeing all her kids again”. Think about it, when school breaks up, all we hear out of our kids mouths are “It’s holidays now”, “but its school holidays mom” how much more so would the opposite, if said correctly, help them ease into school mode before school starts?
4. Limit screen time
Liam loves using his tablet. He has music videos, games and even some mini-series. He also uses it to chat to his family who are far away in New Zealand, who he misses dearly. So I’m not keen on taking it away completely. I will be reducing the amount of time spent on his device though, and have him spend more time reading his books and doing other chores. Thankfully he enjoys doing his chores and I am grateful for that, but for those of you whose kids aren’t that interested in doing chores, perhaps start off by doing the chores with them, this may help.
5. Introduce some thinking activities or games.
Something as simple as board games like scrabble, a game of cards or even some puzzles. This will help bring out that learning and focusing habit back again. Do these activities with your kids if you are able to.
6. Ask about stationery needs
Finding out from your kids whether they need stationery for the new term is yet another way of indirectly reminding them that back to school is close by. If there are some stationery needs, take them with you to do the stationery shopping. This will be some further reinforcement.
7. Avoid overly excitable activities
Saving the best for last is something that many families do. They save the most exciting and fun activities for the very last few days of the holidays. This can make the transition of prepping the kids for to school even harder. Try and get those activities done earlier in the holiday and leave the more relaxed activities for the last few days.
I must admit, this is the first school holiday that I’ve felt the need to put something like into place, and I really hope it works and makes a difference for him in the third term. I will be doing a follow up post in the weeks to come and will let you know how it all worked out. If you have anything to add to this, please place your comments below.