Whether you gave a sigh of relief, or a nervous shiver, the summer holidays have hurtled towards their end and routine, lessons, clubs and joyful homework rear their faces as children return to school. What is the best way to help ease returning to school you ask? Well… read on for our ten top tips for making return to school after the holidays as smooth as possible.



Majority of schools will send a message advising you to label each item your child owns. Take this advice! To ensure nothing gets lost or mixed up, label everything… and I mean everything. Label backpacks, label lunchboxes, water bottles label tops, PE clothes, trousers, skirts, dresses, socks… the list goes on and on. Now, I understand that this can be time consuming but there are many ways this can be done. The good old class pen or a newer method such as clothes stamps or stick on labels. Your life will be easier for you and your child after every PE lesson or activity which requires a clothes change. No more mixing up items!

2) Growth Spurts!

We all know that children grow continuously during their time at school, but sometimes this growth comes as a sudden growth spurt. Make sure you frequently check your child’s uniform, especially when it gets closer to summer and most school uniforms alter for the summer term (more shorts, skirts or dresses). When selecting uniform, try your best to buy clothing that doesn’t require ironing – no one wants to be ironing uniform every evening or morning. Some growth spurts mean your child is hitting puberty, which (unfortunately) means body odour. Usually Year 5 and onwards, you will need to talk to your child about using deodorant and having more frequent showers. (Enjoy the chat!) Finally, read your school’s uniform policy. Countless times children have been in trouble because they went to school with grey trousers, not black. Don’t let that be you!

3) Timetables!

Become familiar with your child’s classroom timetable/routine. Know which days you need anything for cooking and especially which days they need their PE kit! We all know we hate the dreaded call, “your child has PE after break, please bring in their PE kit”… or worse, “Mum, Dad, I have cooking this morning… sorry, I forgot”. Making sure you know when your child has routine sessions (as not every week will look exactly the same) you will save a lot of stress the night before, or the day of.

4) New School Year Discussions

One way to ease your child’s return to school is by having a few quick chats (or more in-depth if they’d like) every day about the school year ahead. Now, these aren’t your usual “what did you do at school today?” conversations. These are, “what are you concerned about this year?” and “what are you looking forward to this year?” conversations. The more you know, the better you can help them prepare and remind them of the exciting parts of the year if they become worried at all. Try using open ended questions to engage your child in conversation. For example: “What lesson are you looking forward to doing this year?” OR “What activity do you least want to do or are worried the most about?”. By using open ended questions, you should get an actual answer to trigger a conversation, rather than a yes or no then silence. It is much better to chat about aspirations or concerns at the beginning of the year so no worries can build up over the term.

5) Flexibility

Going back to school is usually all about routines, but sometimes things don’t always go to plan. It may rain so you have to cancel Outdoor PE. A resource may not have been delivered to the teacher may need to postpone Art. The teacher may be off sick and your child’s class may have a substitute teacher. You need to help your child be flexible with their attitude to their learning and to change.

Easier said than done, I know. If your child comes home cross or upset because something was cancelled, rescheduled, etc. then make sure to really listen to them and validate their feelings. “I understand that it is really disappointing when things change suddenly or don’t go the way we planned. Unfortunately this happens sometimes in life and we can’t do anything about it. What we can do however, is look at how to process what is happening and how to process our emotions in the situation. Don’t let it ruin your day.” Truly listening to your child and helping them process their emotions will support them in more ways than you know, not just with flexibility but with socialisation, determination, focus, emotional and mental wellbeing and so on.

6) Independence

Although the summer holidays can be fantastic, (doing activities, spending time as a family and going away for a holiday,) children do tend to become more reliant on parents/carers doing things for them. At school however, children are expected to grow their independence (especially since there is one teacher to thirty children). Help your child get back into the swing of things and develop their independence at the beginning of the year. To encourage independence you will need to remind/show your child how to do specific activities and then ask them to complete them with minor support before withdrawing support completely.

EYFS: This could be getting clothes together with a parent and putting them on a chair ready to get dressed in the morning. Eventually they will learn the routine and be able to do this with minimal support. At school they will be expected to find their bags, shoes, coats or other equipment independently.

KS1: The same as EYFS applies here but you could also add on getting their reading book and log into their backpack. Again, they will learn the routine and complete this with minimal support/independently after some time.

LKS2: The same as EYFS and KS1 applies here but you can begin to build on preparing their PE kit. In class the children will be expected to know what belongs to them and where it is kept.

UKS2: Years 5 and 6 tend to have the most responsibility and gain more roles within the school. Supporting them to get everything prepared the night before and be organised will help with their independence and develop their resilience at school. Use the same as EYFS, KS1 and LKS2 but now you may begin to include helping prepare their lunches. You can do this the night before together or the morning of (if they are awake in time). This activity is great to prepare for secondary school where it is likely they will prepare their own sandwiches for lunch.

7) Routines!

Having a solid sleeping routine is key for children to be well rested, happy, motivated and focused at school. Have a good routine (that of course may slightly change) for when you get home. Will they do their homework first, then spend some time on a device, then dinner and family time before bath and bed? Do what works for you and your family, but keep it consistent and remember… a good night sleep it key!

8) Breakfast for champions!

It may sound obvious to say but… make sure your child eats breakfast! Far too many times in my classroom I had children feeling tired, unhappy, hungry or unwell and when I spoke to them it turned out that they hadn’t had breakfast (usually because they were in a rush). In my opinion, even if it means you will be a few minutes late, have a good hearty breakfast together. If that is not possible, then make sure you speak to your child’s class teacher and provide your child with a breakfast bar and some fruit to have before lessons begin. If the day starts off in a rush and without adequate sustenance, the rest of the day will be lacking also.

9) Meet the Teacher!

It may not always be possible, but if you get the opportunity to meet your child’s class teacher early on then do not miss that opportunity. Otherwise, you will end up waiting until around November for your first parent’s evening meeting. Why should you meet the teacher? Well… first of all it will show you are an enthusiastic and engaged parent that wants to support your child. Secondly, you may be able to learn something about your child’s teacher and you then have a conversation starter with your child. Finally, it makes it easier for the teacher to dismiss children at the end of the day if they already know you and allows for you to begin open communication with the school staff.

10) Take it one day at a time!

As much as it would be lovely to be able to plan for absolutely everything, this just isn’t possible. So please remember to take it one day at a time. Routines will change, your children will eventually hit puberty (attitudes will definitely change there) and your child will have good days and bad days. Remember, you are good parents/carers that want to support your child. If you find anything too difficult with academics for your child or their social/emotional wellbeing then speak to their class teacher or another trusted adult within the school. Just make sure you and your child do your best to enjoy the school year!

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