Getting Back Into The School Routine!

Ready to go back to school

The lovely long Christmas summer holidays are the perfect chance to break from routine and have some fun! It’s a time to reconnect with family and friends, sleep in, stay up late, eat more “treat” foods, travel to exciting destinations and forget about time for a while. But how do you adjust to getting back into the work/school routine when it’s all over? If you are anything like me, it’s a huge struggle! By now, some parents are probably at the end of their tether after having their children at home for six weeks and are looking forward to getting back to routine; whilst others have loved the chance to spend more quality time with their children and are not quite ready. Either way, the change is coming so here are just a few tips to make it all a little easier:

  • Try getting back into a routine with sleep times, bath times, meal times and other regular activities at least one week before school resumes.  This will help your children’s body clocks adjust to the rhythm of routine and make the transition less stressful.

  • Get them to have a look at their calendar/planner (as suggested in 2013 – Your Child’s Next Exciting Chapter!). They can use it to count down the days until school begins so that they have comfort in knowing when and what will take place.  They can also use it to get organised for the next week.
  • Help them to get excited about the impending term by talking about what is coming up e.g. excursions, parties, swimming lessons, Easter, and seeing all their friends, etc and then demonstrate how to mark some of these on their calendar/planner.
  • Make the first week back relaxing and try not to plan too many after school activities if possible. Getting back into a routine is tiring and it’s best to keep all other activities to a minimum.
  • Give them lots of free time after school to just run outside, play and be free. Especially the first week back but as often as possible during the whole term as well.
  • Plan something fun but simple for the first weekend after being back at school. It could be a movie or pizza night, a picnic in the park, or a visit with family and friends.  This is something the children can look forward to if they are hesitant about going back to school and it lets them know that the fun doesn’t have to end just because the holidays do.
  • Hopefully there will be no homework in the first week back (if they attend a school which believes in giving homework) but if there is, show them how to organise their week so that they can do a little at a time and it’s not overwhelming. They can use their planner to work out when best suits them.
  • Make time at dinner to sit around the table together (which should be a regular occurrence anyway) and chat about their day.  This helps them to communicate their feelings and bond with their family.  If open communication is developed and encouraged then they will be more likely to open up to you when they have concerns or issues that they need to discuss.
  • If they are at a new school or even just a new class with different students and teacher, they may be feeling a little anxious about the change. Ask them how they are feeling about the new school/teacher/class and answer all their concerns as honestly and reassuringly as you can.

More than anything just be there for your children to guide them through this change in routine as there may be a period of adjustment which might cause them to feel anxious.  You may notice behaviour that is not typical for them and it could just be that they are overwhelmed and overtired with the changes.  Be understanding and talk to them about their feelings.  It may appear that they are just being “naughty” and playing up, but there is always an underlying reason so make sure that you investigate and be supportive.  In saying all of this, your child may actually be really happy about being back at school and not have any worries or concerns at all. If they are, then that’s great but just keep these tips in mind so that you can ease them back in regardless of how you think they will –  or how they do  – adjust to this big change.

Happy guiding


Darling Precious Children

Famous Failures

Failure leads to success

Failure is a means to an end – learning and eventually succeeding! The new year brings new beginnings and the magical opportunity of trying something you have never done before –  so don’t let the thought of failure stop you or your children.  Never let your children see failure as a bad thing, it’s just another opportunity to learn. Be there to guide and support them in their successes and failures and remember that the key is never giving up. The truth is that it is necessary for our development and enjoyment of life because if you have never failed then you have probably never tried anything new! Some of the most amazing people I know have failed but eventually they became successful because they refused to let anyone else define them.  Here are just a few inspirational people to keep in mind as you positively guide your child throughout this school year:

J k Rowling

J.K Rowling

She had no money, was depressed and living on welfare when she wrote Harry Potter, which incidentally was rejected many times before being published.

Vincent Van Gogh

Only sold one painting in his lifetime, this was to a friend and was sold for a small amount of money.  He was never successful while he was alive but pursued his dream, often starving to complete over 800 works which now bring in hundreds of millions.

Steven King

Had his first book, the amazingly successful – Carrie – rejected 30 times before he threw it in the bin. Luckily his wife got it out and convinced him to re-submit it.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

She was once told by a modelling agency that she should consider becoming a secretary and later 20th Century Fox dropped her because her producer thought she was unattractive and couldn’t act.

Steven Spielberg

He was placed in a “learning-disabled” class at one point in high-school but only lasted a month before dropping out of school forever.


Albert Einstein

He wasn’t able to speak until he was almost four years old and his teachers said he would never amount to much.

Michael Jordan

After being cut from his high-school basketball team, went home, locked himself in his room and cried.

Dr Seuss

Theodor Seuss Giesel is better known as Dr Seuss and wrote The Cat in the Hat book which has been read by most children,  but before that he had his first book rejected by 27 publishers.

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

He was fired after one performance and was told “You aint goin nowhere, son.  You ought to go back to driving a truck,”  by his manager.

Bill Gates

He was a Harvard University drop-out who started his own software company (Microsoft) after purchasing software technology for $50.00 (US).

Steve Jobs

At thirty years old he was left devastated and depressed after being unceremoniously removed from the company he started.

Akio Marita (Sony founder)

You may not have heard of him but he founded the Sony company.  His first product was a rice cooker that burnt rice instead of cooking it and he sold less than 100 of them.  He didn’t let this set back stop him and his partners – they went on to create a multimillion dollar company.


Oprah Winfrey

Was demoted from her job as news anchor because she …. “Wasn’t fit for television.”

Ludwig van Beethoven

Went on to become one of the most famous composers of all time but as a young student his music teacher once said  “as a composer he is hopeless!”  During his career he also lost his hearing but still managed to compose great music!


A high-school drop out whose personal struggles with drugs and poverty culminated in an unsuccessful suicide attempt.

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

At his first screen test the MGM testing director noted that Astaire “Can’t act. Can’t sing, Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”

Walt Disney

Fired from a newspaper for  “lacking imagination” and “having no original ideas.”

F. W. Woolworth

Now well known as the founder of Woolworth stores, a young F. W Woolworth was once told by his boss, that he was not allowed to serve customers (in the store where he worked) as he lacked the sense to do so.

and last but not least

The Beatles

The Beatles

Rejected by Decca Recording studios who said “We don’t like their sound…They have no future in show business.”

Let the children in your life know that they should never ever give up on their dreams, or anything else that they want to learn or achieve. If they really want something they need to keep trying and working at it and you need to keep encouraging and assisting them. Read my previous posts on how you can positively guide them throughout this year and stay tuned for lots more. Don’t let failure stop them!

Happy guiding


Darling Precious Children

Letter Play and Sound Dough!


What you will need2 cups plain flour, 1 cup salt, 1 tablespoon cooking oil, 1/2 – 1 cup water, 3 or 4 drops of food colouring, rolling-pin, board and tray.

Step 1Help your child combine the plain flour and salt then gradually add the water (as needed), food colouring and oil.  Mix and knead well until all the ingredients are combined.  If its too wet add flour and if its too dry add water.

Step 2Let the child manipulate, squeeze, poke, pull and squash the playdough.

Step 3Show the child how to make a few letters of the alphabet, preferably beginning with the letters in their name. Then let the child have a go or take turns at making alternate letters in their name.  Say the names and the sound of the letter you are making and trace it with your finger.

Step 4If the child would like to make some other letters, names, words etc then help them to do this or else let them freely create whatever they would like with the playdough.


Playdough is a wonderful relaxing activity which is brilliant for; releasing stress and creating calm; developing the senses, hand muscles and hand control;  enhancing creativity and expression; as well as having many other benefits.  When using playdough to make letters, children are learning  to recognise the alphabet in a fun creative way.  They are also learning about letter formation and how to write their name. Get them to trace the letters they make with their fingers as you say the sound – this gives them a concrete visual picture of the letter and the sound it makes.  When introducing letters give the name as well as the sound it makes so that children are becoming familiar with both.  Knowing the name of the letter without the sound it makes is quite useless as the letter rarely sounds like its name and therefore is no use when children are learning to sound out letters and words.  Most of all just have fun with it as the best learning of all takes place when enjoyment is involved!



Darling Precious Children

Starting Big School!


It doesn’t seem all that long ago that you were taking your tiny newborn baby home from hospital and now all of a sudden they are starting big school! Where did that time go and how can it be possible? It can be a nervous time for parents and children but with a little planning ahead to make sure your child is emotionally and spiritually ready, it can be a lot easier.

Don’t worry if they don’t know their whole alphabet, all their numbers, or three different languages – that’s what they are going to school for! If they have been to pre-school they probably already know more than enough academic stuff to begin kindergarten anyway.  Remember what I said in ‘The importance of building confidence’  – Self-esteem has a far greater impact than intelligence or ability!  This is Paramount, so give them the confidence they need to begin with some of these simple effective tips:


It is really important to make sure that your child is confident about going to the toilet on their own.  They will need to know how to: undo and do up their pants and other clothing, get onto the toilet by themselves, wipe their bottoms correctly, turn taps on and off, and wash and dry hands. Your child may already be doing all of this on their own but if not, make sure they begin now as you won’t be around at school and they need to be able to do this without you.

Dressing and Undressing

There will be times when your children will need to change for swimming, sport or even just the weather e.g putting a jumper/cardigan on and off. Let them dress themselves every morning and undress at night (if they don’t already) so that they can get the hang of it and feel completely secure by the time they start school.

Drinks and Lunches

Some children may have been making their own lunches since the age of about two and a half but if they haven’t don’t panic. Children of five years of age are quite capable of making a sandwich and putting some fruit, yoghurt or whatever your child has for lunch into a lunch box. But even before they can do all of this, it is essential that your child is able to easily open and close the lunch box, plastic/foil wrappers, drink bottles, poppers, yoghurt containers, and eat fruit/vegetables without it having to be peeled or chopped. Also make sure that you or your child check that there is a spoon for the yoghurt or fork for rice etc so that your child does not panic when they get to lunch and there are things missing.  All of this helps them to feel secure and less anxious about meal times at school.

General hygiene and Self help

Anything you can teach your child to do for themselves will make them feel more secure.  Things that we take for granted like being able to: blow their own nose and wash their hands afterwards, wash hands before lunch or after outdoor or messy activities, hang their coat on a hook, put on and take off their own shoes, pack and unpack their bags etc, will all help them to feel more confident.

Manners and Communication

Saying please and thank you was once taught in each and every home but these days some adults have forgotten about basic courtesy and manners, so therefore they do not teach their children any.  It’s really important that your child learns some basic manners and communication skills.  This will help them in all aspects of life but particularly with meeting new people.  Firstly practice good manners yourself by saying please and thank you and also by sharing, caring and turn taking etc, and then help your child learn these skills.  Go through some scenarios of asking other children to play or if you can borrow something from another child etc, and role play what they could say. Be an open communicator yourself and ask your child how they feel about starting a new school. Do they have any concerns or is there anything they are unsure of? What are they really looking forward to about their new school? Then answer their questions as honestly and reassuringly as you can. This will help them to communicate with others and communicate their feelings.

Planning and Organisation

Teach them about planning and organising so that they are able to unpack and pack their bags and  organise what they will need for the next day. Talk to them about the general sequence of the day and again ask them if they have any concerns or anything they would like to find out more about? Then answer all their questions. Read my previous post: 2013 – Your Child’s Next Exciting Chapter! For more information on how you can help your child plan and get organised.


Some other ways to help your child feel more secure and excited about starting big school:

  • Let them make simple choices and be in control of the things that they can be in control of such as picking a new lunch box, drink bottle, pencil case, pencils etc and get them to tick these off a list. Then let them set out the things they will need for the first day. This will help them feel more enthusiastic and that they have some control. 

  • Visit the school and point out the swings or new classrooms etc to help children feel more familiar with the new environment. 

  • Start going to bed a bit earlier about a week or two before school begins. Wake your child up around 10 minutes earlier than usual and let them go to bed 10 minutes earlier each night until you have the timing right for school term.

  • Find out about drop off and pick up so that you know how long you can stay the first day or if it is recommended that you leave quite quickly.  Make sure you plan ahead how you will say goodbye and talk to your child about this.  Will you give a quick kiss and hug and say goodbye or will you stay and wait a while until your child feels settled? Think about what your child needs. This way your child will also know what is going to happen that first day and not feel as nervous.

  • If you can meet some of the other children before school starts, you might like to organise a meet and greet play time. But if not, it doesn’t matter as they will meet new friends soon enough once school starts.

  • Read some good books about starting school such as: I Am Too Absolutely Small For School by Lauren Child; First Grade Jitters by Robert Quackenbush; Sam and Gram and the First day of School by Dianne Blomberg;  or When you go to Kindergarten by James Howe.

Remember, school is supposed to be fun! Yes you are supposed to go there and learn but most of us who have been there and beyond realise that most of your learning actually happens after you leave school, so don’t take it all too seriously. If your child is happy, meets some friends and learns how to read, write and do a little maths then that’s all that really matters – They have a lifetime to learn the rest! Read all my previous posts to find out more about how you can positively guide your child throughout their school lives and beyond, plus stay tuned for more information on how you can do this.

Happy Guiding


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