Prepare Your Child For Back To School

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With summer break nearly over, you may be looking for ways to make the start of the school year feel as easy and stress-free as you can. Getting ready for a new school year is not just about back to school shopping; it’s also about figuring out a new routine, setting goals, and ensuring that you set your child up for a successful school year.

Here are some things you can do to prepare for back to school:

1. Set achievable goals

A great way to start planning for the upcoming year is by sitting down with your child and setting clear goals for your child to keep in mind during this new school year. These can be as simple as mapping out any extracurricular activities your child may want to try this school year, setting specific days to work on different subjects at home, or picking a day every week to go through your child’s backpack to make sure no handouts are lost.

Setting small goals will make your child feel a sense of achievement, especially if they’re done before their school day starts!

You can also set academic goals, but these should be discussed later on in the school year, when you have a better insight into your child’s learning progress.

Parent and child, sat on the sofa and looking at a laptop.

2. Introduce checklists and planners

Once you and your child have set clear goals for the upcoming school year, you can introduce them to organization and time management tools, such as checklists and planners!

Checklists and planners allow your child to think about what they have to do and when they have to do it. Planners have “plan” in their name for a reason! Checklists help children stay on task and prioritize the right things. As they write down the tasks they need to accomplish, they can also start thinking about what their strengths and weaknesses are. For instance, the subjects they need more help with might require a longer period of time dedicated to working on them.

3. Encourage laughter in your child’s learning

One of the most important aspects of your child’s elementary school journey is having a routine that aligns with their schedule and goals for the school year. Developing a routine that works for you and your child should start at least a few days before the first day of school - much like a trial run - to see if the plans you’ve set are realistic and achievable!

Consider the following points when thinking of a new school routine:

Morning routine

  • What time should the alarm clock be set in order for your child to wake up and have enough time to get ready for the day?
  • Will you prepare a healthy breakfast for your child every morning, or will you have to batch cook in advance to save time?

School routine

  • Will your child do revision work before school starts each morning?
  • Will your child’s extracurricular activities clash with their schoolwork in any way?
  • Who will be in charge of collecting your child from school at the end of the day? Will you have to split this commitment between different members of your family on different days?

Bedtime routine

  • What is your child’s bedtime?
  • How long does it normally take for your child to get ready for bed and unwind?
  • Will you read together before going to sleep?

P.S. Last minute changes will sometimes happen, so it’s important to allow for some flexibility!

Parent reading bedtime story to child.

4. Teach your child that failing is normal

In Teacher’s Manual, Thomas H. Palmer famously said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” This quote gets repeated to children often, and with good reason; failure is inevitable. It’s a crucial part of learning and growing up.

As your child starts a new school year, chances are they’ll run into bumps in the road which will require them to try again.

Victoria Bong writes in 10 proven ways to help your child do well at school. Simple steps every parent can try at home (2015) that you should teach your child that failure is a ‘stepping-stone to success.’ Failure is part of the learning process. In order to learn what’s right, children must brave the waters of failure.

This isn't a bad thing. In fact, it’s natural and even important to fail. By showing your child that everyone makes mistakes, you’ll encourage them to keep trying until they get it right. This will pave the way for them to have a very successful school year!

5. Show enthusiasm towards your child’s interests

You should embrace and support your child's interests wholeheartedly to fuel their curiosity, boost their commitment, and foster a genuine eagerness to learn and try new things!

Your child’s obsession, that thing they want to discuss the most (no matter how trivial it might seem), might be the jump-off point for a whirlwind of inspiration. This can lead to a go-getter attitude and may translate into positive learning habits.

If your child is allowed to explore their passions and face encouragement when doing so, they'll feel more comfortable with producing creative work from it. Start your child's new school year off right by finding out what topics are taking their interest, and how you might be able to add value to this.

6. Encourage laughter in your child’s learning

Incorporating humor into your child’s learning will really help them build positive habits as they start their new school year.

We’re not telling you to encourage your child to be the class clown, but we do think it’s very important to cultivate an easy going and light atmosphere for your child to learn in. More and more studies are emerging regarding the importance of laughter for a child’s development. Incorporating learning with laughter will benefit your child’s academic journey as well as their general well-being!

7. Identify and limit distractions

There is no doubt that technology is a wonderful and useful thing. There really is no separating children from a world of technology (and we don’t think you should).

However, guiding your child towards the right kinds of technology, at the right time, in the right environment, is crucial. Too many television programs, apps and video games absorb a child’s attention in a non-productive way. Strive to find the right technology that engages their spirit and their mind, simultaneously.

This is the same for their working environment. In 7 Ways to Promote Good Study Habits Amy McCready at Positive Parenting Solutions writes, “Fewer distractions simply equates to better quality work.”

Make sure their space is organized and clear, and their screen time (if they have it) is focused on learning. If you help your child identify what distracts them, it will help improve their concentration.

Once you clear these distractions with your child, they’ll learn to focus on the tasks at hand and produce better quality results.

Children playing at home.

8. Teach your child to ask for help

One of the best ways to build positive habits within your child as they get ready for their new school year is to teach them to ask for help when they need it. If your child doesn’t understand something, teach them that asking for further explanation is the right thing to do. If your child is open to asking for help, they could also be more open to giving help to other students when it’s needed!

Elaine Ho from Blog Edmentum writes, “Teaching your child how to build effective working relationships with other students and asking their peers for help is another important lesson in asking for, receiving, and offering support.” (2022)

9. Gamify your child’s learning

When you introduce gamified learning to a child’s education, it’ll bring them the excitement of television or video games, increasing their engagement, whilst making them more receptive to learning the subject matter.

This is a great way to show to your child that learning doesn't have to be boring! Finding ways to make learning fun and exciting for your child will create better engagement and increase their knowledge retention on the subject. At Night Zookeeper, we strongly believe in making reading and writing fantastically fun for your child!

If you’re ready to level up your child’s learning and get them excited about starting a new school year, you should try! Our program can be used as a reading and writing homeschool curriculum or as a supplemental learning resource to support your child’s primary/elementary school journey. It’s also a wonderful resource to facilitate distance learning.

Get ready for back to school season with us!

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10 proven ways to help your child do well at school. simple steps every parent can try at home (2015) School Guide Blog. Available at:

McCready, A. (undated) 7 Ways to Promote Good Study Habits, Positive Parenting Solutions. Available at:

Wierman, M. (2022) 7 tips for parents to help your child develop effective study skills, Edmentum Blog. Available at:

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