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The Best Routines for Back to School Stress Relief in 2021

Education

| By Amy Vagne | January 11, 2021

Practical and positive advice, clever routines and wellbeing tips to help parents navigate the needs of their kids and for back to school stress relief.

Ensure back to school stress relief with these tips to help students stay organised and calm

After everything we experienced in 2020, hopefully 2021 will feel like a cool breeze on a hot day – refreshing, and full of promise and change. But, even with this fresh new year, January can still be daunting as back to school preparation looms ahead. The key to getting everyone on track, and ensuring back to school stress relief, is in setting great routines, getting organised, and planning ahead. Consider this article your cheat sheet, packed with top tips and super strategies for managing all of the tasks required at this busy time of year.

Tackling the Physical Organisation of Back To School

Take the Easy Approach to School List Shopping

Stocking up on all the books, pens and paper they need is a big job... but you can take away the stress, and beat the back to school rush, by outsourcing this tricky task to the Officeworks School List Service. Simply upload your school list online, make your payment and select your preferred pickup date and store. For no extra charge, the team at Officeworks will pick and pack everything, before you collect your package via Click and Collect in store. It sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? Happily, it’s not.

Sort out All the Hygiene Necessities

Keep your child across their school’s COVID safety plan to put their mind at ease


At the beginning of 2020, we never thought masks would be essential back to school kit. What a difference a year makes. Before school starts, catch up on your school’s COVID safety plan. Will students be required to wear masks or supply their own hand sanitiser? Are there changes to where and how kids are dropped off and picked up? With some schools switching off their water fountains or cancelling extra-curricular activities, there may be implications for the gear they need to bring to school each day. Get in the know so you’re prepped and ready from Day One.

What To Try

Set up Their Study Space

Having everything they need to do their homework can help ease back to school stress


A tidy and well-stocked workstation will encourage good homework habits and set them in good stead for their academic future. Before they start back at school, make sure you’ve got a sturdy table and comfortable chair set-up for each child. Other essentials you may need: a cup of pens and pencils, a notepad and a pair of headphones (to prevent distractions). There are many theories on the best types of sounds to listen to to promote productivity and concentration, but a track of nature sounds is a good bet to improve focus. Add the finishing touch with a cork board for displaying To Do lists, mementos and merit awards.

What To Try

Get All Their Gear Together

Write yourself a checklist of everything the kids will need and slowly start to tick things off. Feeling overwhelmed? Try tackling one item from the list per day. Consider school uniforms and backpacks first – these might need deep cleaning or repair work, or possibly replacing if your child has had a growth spurt over the holidays. It’s a good idea to have a uniform dress rehearsal a week before school starts so you can be sure that everything fits and nothing has gone missing (we’re looking at you, school hat). Next, attack the essentials like lunch boxes, drink bottles and sport shoes. Check their condition and shop for replacements if necessary.

What To Try

SEE ALSO: How to Make a Weekly Timetable With Your Kids

Addressing the Mental Prep of Back-To-School

Re-establish Those Robust Routines

Getting into the right headspace for school can be tough after a six-week break. Make life easier for everyone by starting a gradual transition back to old term-time routines. Practise waking up early and going to bed on time so that little brains and bodies are well-rested. Establish a regular night time routine around sitting down for dinner together, bath time and bedtime reading. Kids thrive on routine and repetition.

What To Try

Re-establish Those Robust Routines

Getting into the right headspace for school can be tough after a six-week break. Make life easier for everyone by starting a gradual transition back to old term-time routines. Practise waking up early and going to bed on time so that little brains and bodies are well-rested. Establish a regular night time routine around sitting down for dinner together, bath time and bedtime reading.Kids thrive on routine and repetition.

What To Try

Try Some Clever Brain Training

Helping kids fire up their brain before class begins for 2021 can help manage back to school stress relief


Holidays, with their slower pace and relaxed attitudes to screen time, tend to make us sleepy and sluggish in the brain department. Before the return to school, plan a few brain bootcamp sessions with puzzles, games and activities specially designed to get them thinking. Flashcards are fab for quizzing kids on basic facts, while working on a jigsaw puzzle can improve their attention span and problem-solving skills. STEM activities, like conducting a science experiment or building with a construction set, boost creativity while also encouraging critical thinking.

What To Try

SEE ALSO: STEM 101: Unexpected STEM Learning Activities Kids Can Try at Home

Embracing the Emotional Side of Back-To-School

Encourage Communication

One of the best ways to manage back to school stress is to have open communication with your kids


The best way to prepare your kids emotionally for a new school year is to talk to them and ask plenty of questions. Find out how they’re feeling, and what they’re expecting, and if you can, assuage any feelings of stress, anxiety or fear that might be lurking about. Talking about the school year around the dinner table might be a good idea. Or some parents find difficult topics are best brought up in the car, or while walking or cooking together, which allows for “sideways listening”, a strategy where parent-child chat is spontaneous, relaxed and child-led.

Plan a Celebration

Without going overboard, find small ways to turn the start of the school year into a happy and exciting time for your kids. Make their favourite breakfast on the first day, snap funny school photos with a 2021 sign, or plan an after-school snack session and go out for milkshakes or ice cream to debrief on the day’s events. Even if you yourself are feeling flat or a wee bit worried, promoting a positive and upbeat attitude around the return to school can be good for everyone.

Give Friendly Reminders

Dip their toes back in the water, so to speak, by driving or walking past school in the lead-up to the first day back. Likewise, try touching base with other school parents and plan a playdate or two so that old friendships can be rekindled after time spent apart. Another idea? Scroll through some photos together and relive happy moments from the last school year, like Crazy Hair Day or Book Week. These are just a few ways you can remind your kids about the positive aspects of school – the fun times and the friendships that schools can cultivate.



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