Generic photo of parent and child, Friday, Feb 14, 2014. (AAP Image/Joe Castro) NO ARCHIVING
Generic photo of parent and child, Friday, Feb 14, 2014. (AAP Image/Joe Castro) NO ARCHIVING JOE CASTRO

Back to school: Get your family ready

IT'S that time of year again: School holidays are drawing to a close and term time fast approaches.

Before you start hurtling around looking for uniforms and searching for new shoes, it's worth taking time to plan ahead, experts have said.

"It's best for parents and for kids to start the term in a calm and focused way," child psychologist, Nicole Pierotti said.

"No one needs lost socks or tired kids first day back at school. Invest a little time in preparing for back to school and you will feel calm and in control.

"Families are much happier and run smoothly when you start the term off in a organised manner."

Nicole offers her top tips on getting your child ready to go back to school:

1. Get Sleep on Track - holidays are well known for later bedtimes and morning sleep-ins. Rather than wait until the first day back at school, adjust your child's bedtime back 15 minutes a night a few nights before, so on the first day of school, they'll bounce out of bed with ease.

2. Find those uniforms - The day before school goes back, get your children to organise their uniform, find their shoes, give them a polish, gather their hats and lunchboxes. You don't want to be looking for lost socks on the first day of school.

3. Be lunch box ready - Back to lunchboxes it is. So be sure to organise the grocery list, shop, stock the pantry and plan for the week ahead before school starts.

4. Replace stationery - Get your children to check their pens, pencils, rubbers, coloured pencils and glue sticks. Replace any that are past their use. It's certainly easier to shop for these in the holidays than running around after school and in-between school activities. Plus your child's teacher really doesn't want to be asked about these the first few days back!

5. Update your timetable - spend 30 minutes updating your timetable with after school activities, sport, choirs, drama, music. Pencil it in your diary and be sure to print it out and put it on the noticeboard or fridge. Have it visible not hidden in a file or on a desk somewhere. I love making colour coded ones with a different colour for each child. Frixion pens are great for this because you can rub out any changes with the built-in eraser, without a trace, to keep your timetable easy to read and ensure you stay organised.

A child psychologist of 19 years, Nicole Pierotti runs her own clinic and parenting advice website, Baby Smiles.



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