Whether your child's school has already opened for the new term, or if you're still anxiously awaiting the rentrée this week - here are some tips to get back into the swing of things.

Those of you with older children will no doubt be well-versed in the art of getting back into the term-time routine, but if you have a child starting school this year, or if you're like me and are a week or so in and getting increasingly frazzled, we could do worse than remember the following:

DO give it time. If you've got young children in particular, the adjustment from the endless summer weeks to regimented school days can be tricky. Remember kids mostly thrive on routine and school is no exception. It can help to make visuals for children, even if it's just a piece of paper on the fridge with a rough timetable including breakfast, dinner and bedtime. You can even get them to help you make one!

DON'T ever attempt to pick your child up from school without some kind of snack in hand. The one time you don't have one, your child will almost certainly spend the entire journey home loudly informing you that they are on the very cusp of starvation, no matter whether they ate at school, or came home for lunch. If they're particularly hangry, they might even treat you to a full-on screaming fit at the school gates, so stuff your pockets with fruit, biscuits, rice cakes, anything. I learned the hard way, so you don't have to.

Whilst on the topic of food, DO as much dinner prep in advance as you can, especially if you're a working parent. Whether that's batch cooking, making use of the slow cooker, or having some easy dinner fallbacks which can be prepared in under 20 minutes - you'll be grateful to your past self for getting it sorted and reducing any evening stress. That said, this is a judgement-free space - if you absolutely can't cope, a takeaway or freezer dinner never hurt anybody!

DON'T forget to prep things like clothing and schoolbags the night before. Laying out your child's outfit and shoes can both relieve your own stress in the mornings, as well as encourage your child to get themselves ready for school. If you wanted to be extremely organised, you could prepare every outfit and separate them into dividers so you're set for the week. (Note - while this does sound wonderful in practice, in our household it typically lasts for about two weeks before nightly chaos sets in...)

DO remember road safety rules and remind your child to exercise caution around roads near the school, particularly on gloomy mornings! The Grand Ducal police run an annual road safety campaign with an increased police presence around schools, so if you're in need of more specific advice, do keep an eye out.

RTL

© Photo by Deleece Cook on Unsplash

DON'T dismiss any emotions - whether that's for you or your child! If your child is starting school for the first time, they may be experiencing a maelstrom of difficult feelings. Try to find a balance between encouraging the positive and acknowledging the negative. If they're anxious, you could give them a little sensory toy to carry on the school run.

Equally, DO give your child space when they get home. School can be exhausting for young minds, especially in neurodivergent children - a whole day of focus and concentration can frequently result in poor behaviour at home in younger children in the initial weeks. In our household, we find it helpful to have some time outdoors on the way back home, whether that's in a park or just running about the garden, followed by snack-time (for a second time, if required!) and then some time snuggled on the sofa or some chill-out time in our child's bedroom before dinner. Activities such as drawing or building Lego can help a child to decompress before you ask them about their day. If your child has homework, a calming activity could be useful before starting schoolwork, to create a divide.

Finally, DON'T forget that you're not in this alone! Although it might seem like other parents at the school gates have it sussed, we're all going through the same thing. For every parent who arrives at school having remembered their child's PE kit and packed lunch, there's almost certainly one who had their children brushing their teeth in the car this morning. Not that I'd know anything about that...

If you haven't heard yet, we are hosting a Back to School Contest here on RTL Today! Check it out :-)