Tips for a successful term: How to help your kids adjust to a new school year

27 August 2020, 09:41 | Updated: 28 August 2020, 13:46

Zoe Hardman gives her back to school tips
Zoe Hardman gives her back to school tips. Picture: Heart
Zoe Hardman

By Zoe Hardman

Heart's Zoe Hardman reveals how she is preparing for her daughter to start pre-school, and how she plan to stops herself from missing her too much after spending lots of time together.

My daughter Luna starts pre-school next month, and we are both feeling very differently about it.

Luna, who is almost 4, is a naturally friendly, chatty and outgoing little girl, and of all my children, she is the one who has struggled the most with no social interaction over the past few, weird, months.

But now she is just days away from putting on her new blue polo shirt and jumper and heading off to class for the first time - I know the exact number as we have been counting down for the last three months using a chart on the wall, ticking off each of the days standing between her and school.

Zoe and her daughter Luna
Zoe and her daughter Luna. Picture: Heart

We both have questions about this new era of our lives - she wants to know if she will have a peg for her coat, I want to know if I will bawl my eyes out as I watch her enter the school gates for the first time.

Social distancing means I can’t give her all the answers to her questions, like where she will keep her wellies? Who is her teacher? Who will her new friends be?

Coronavirus means that all the usual opportunities to meet other parents, their kids and the teachers haven’t been an option this summer, we are all going in to this new era on the back foot.

Another thought that has left me feeling wobbly is knowing that I won’t be able to take her in to the classroom on her first day - I will have to stand in a line outside with other mums and dads and wave her off from a distance.

I have always said I wouldn’t be ‘one of those mums’ who gets overly emotional at the edge of the playground, but now the time has come, I know that my heart will be in my mouth as I watch her take her first steps in to school.

Kids in England are getting ready to return to school
Kids in England are getting ready to return to school. Picture: Heart

I just hope she does it with a smile, as the urge to run to her and scoop her up if she looks uncertain will just be too much to ignore.

Like all parents, I’ve been spending more time than ever with my kids during lockdown, and while it’s been hard at times to juggle my career and being at home for them, as restrictions lift and things get back to normal, I’ve been getting emotional thinking about not having her kicking around all day.

As well as randomly bursting in to tears, I’ve been looking at photos of myself from four years ago when I was heavily pregnant with her - it was only four years ago! Now she is starting school! Where has the time gone?

Although it’s tempting to spend time thinking about the past, I’ve been keeping myself busy thinking about what I can do to keep making memories with my little girl, and stop my own nerves and emotions about this big milestone rubbing off on to her.

Luna will be doing 4.5 days a week, and I hope to be able to take and pick her up most days.

To help myself with the transition of having less time with her on a daily basis, I have been planning activities and routines that we can do together before and after school, which has helped make this time a lot less scary, and see this as a big change we can enjoy together.

Find out Zoe's top tips on getting your kids ready for school
Find out Zoe's top tips on getting your kids ready for school. Picture: Heart

These are my top three tips for getting ready to send your child to school for the first day of term…

Prep - We have gone out and bought her new lunchbox, water bottle and rucksack together. Making her part of the decision process meant that she feels involved and in control of a daunting situation, and makes her feel more grown up ahead of starting school.

Plan - I will be taking her to and from school most days, and to make the school run more spontaneous and fun, some days I want to take her for an after school treat on the way home. It will be so lovely to hear about her day without the usual distractions at home, and she will love the special treat, too.

Packed lunches - I want to get Luna involved in making her packed lunch in the morning before school. We will cut her grapes, pop in a drink, she can choose her sandwich filling, and grab a Soreen Lunchbox Loaf from the cupboard to pop in to her nice new lunchbox, too.

As well as these top tips for a successful term, make sure your little ones have their lunchboxes filled with snacks to give them the energy they’ll need. Soreen Lunchbox Loaves come in four fruity flavours, are perfect for packed lunches and you can find them in all major supermarkets, near the cake bars. Click here to check out their flavours.

Plus, we've teamed up with them to give you the chance to win the ultimate back to school package including iPads, an Amazon Dot and money to spend on School Uniforms. Enter here.