Top tips for starting back to school after the holidays.
Getting ready for the first day
• If your child is new to the school, visit the school grounds over the holidays to help them get familiar with their new surroundings.
• Walking, scooting, or cycling to school is a great start to the day. Practice the safest route to school over the holidays – don’t forget a helmet if they’re on wheels.
• It’s easy to let bedtimes slip during the school holidays. Get your child back into their regular bedtime routine a few days before school starts so they’re rested and ready.
• If your child is anxious about their first day, make time to talk to them about their worries. Ask them how they feel and really listen to what they say, rather than telling them not to worry.
• Help your child get their clothes, sun hat, shoes, lunch and backpack ready the night before school starts to reduce stress in the morning.
• Make sure you’ve labelled your child’s lunchbox, drink bottle, sun hat and clothing.
• A healthy lunch will give your child energy to last the day, keep them happy, and help them concentrate.
• Kids are often in a rush to finish lunch so they can play, so they’re more likely to eat a lunch that is quick and easy to eat.
• High-sugar or high-fat treats for lunch (biscuits, chippies, juice etc) can make it hard for your child to concentrate later in the day.
• If you can get your child to help pack their lunchbox, they’re more likely to eat it.
• Keeping hydrated is important for concentration too – water is always best.
• Half-fill the drink bottle with water, put it in the freezer overnight and then top up with water from the tap in the morning – this will keep the water nice and cold all day.
• Unless the school provides stationery, the school will have a list of stationery you need to buy for your child for the year.
• Make sure you name their stationery items.
• Most stationery shops have deals on in the month before school starts, so it pays to shop around.
• Have the uniform ready to go the night before school starts to make the morning easier for you and your child.
• If you’re struggling to cover the cost:
• Ask your school if they have free or discounted second-hand uniforms.
• Ask the school if they will let you spread payments for the uniform throughout the year.
• Check out shops like The Warehouse and Postie Plus for non-branded uniform items (check with your school if these are okay).
• Some schools ask students to bring their own digital device.
• Check prices at your school and/or local suppliers to find the best deal.
• Ask about finance options to help spread the cost out over time.
• Your school may have devices for students to borrow, or they may have a partnership with an organisation that can help.
• Sleep is so important for a healthy, happy child.
• Health experts recommend 9-11 hours sleep per night for school-age children, and 8-10 hours per night for teenagers.
• For a better night’s sleep, no screen time one hour before bed – the light from the device sends a signal which makes it hard to fall asleep (even when the light is turned all the way down).
Budgeting for school
• Setting up a regular, small automatic payment to the school can make it much easier to pay any fees that come up during the year (check with your school first to make sure this is okay).
• Schools can ask you to pay for activities or events that are not part of the school curriculum (including exam fees), but school donations (or voluntary contributions) are optional – you can pay all, some, or none of the suggested donation.
• If you do make a donation to your school, you can get a third of the amount back through the Inland Revenue.
• If you’re having trouble paying fees for activities or events that are not part of the school curriculum, contact the school principal — you might be able to get help.