back to school transition

6 tips to make the back to school transition easier

Make the back to school transition easier from summer fun back to the classroom for everyone involved.

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time, but it can be tough for children to get used to making the transition back to the routine of a school day. Ease yourself and your child back into term-time with the following advice.

1. Be morning ready

Mornings are stressful for most families. Getting yourself ready for work and the kids prepared for a day at school can make for a frazzled start to the day. But, if you complete a few tasks the night before, you’ll set yourself up for a smooth morning. For example, setting the table, making lunchboxes, laying out clothes for the following day, packing school bags – all these simple tasks can really help to get your family out to school/work in a much calmer and faster way.

2. Have uniform sense

Uniforms go through a lot of wear and tear, but it’s worth checking with friends or family for second hand school coats and blazers etc. Also, keep an eye on any deals that are being offered for the generic uniform clothing such as skirts, trousers, pinafores, shirts etc. And make sure that you label your child’s uniform with your child’s name and your telephone number. It’s always a good idea to buy a school uniform in one size bigger as children tend to grow very quickly – you can always bring the hems up on trousers and skirts. Make the transition from summer fun back to the classroom easier for everyone involved

3. Save money on school books

Buying second hand books will save you a lot of money – but do make sure that it is the correct version of the book specified by your child’s school. Shop around to see if you can get a good deal on the books your child needs and see if you can sell on the books that your child has finished with.

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4. Reset body clocks

Re-introduce the bedtime and mealtime routines (especially breakfast) at least one week before school begins. Talk to your child about the benefits of school routines in terms of not becoming overtired or overwhelmed by school work and activities.

5. Create a calendar

Mark the important dates on your calendar, especially back-to-school activities. This is particularly important if you have children in more than one school and you need to juggle various sports and hobbies.

6. Set up a study station

Have a designated homework area in the house. Older children can study in their bedroom or a quiet area of the house. But younger children will need an area perhaps in the living room or kitchen so that you can supervise and encourage them.


Money-saving tips from

  • Make a list of prices for each item from different shops so you know where to find the cheapest item.
  • Search online for money-off coupons or voucher codes that you can get your hands on for shops that sell back-to-school items.
  • Try to use school bags and pencil cases from last year. Even if they look dirty, they might just need a quick wash to be as good as new.
  • Invest in colourful keyrings and attach them to your child’s jacket, bag and PE gear as this makes them easier to identify so reduces the risk of it getting mixed up or lost with another child’s belongings and you having to pay to replace it.
  • If you can afford to, it’s a good idea to start to plan ahead and put a little money aside for next year’s back-to-school costs. Keep this year’s receipts so that you’ll know how much you will need for next year. Saving even a small amount regularly can make a big difference. For example, saving €5 each week will add up to €260 for back-to-school costs next year. You could consider giving up something small such as buying a newspaper or morning coffee and putting the money you save in a jar every day.

More like this:

Homeschooling in Ireland
Is your child ready for school?
First day at school


Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….


Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.