Getting Growing Minds Ready for School

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Officeworks


There’s something a little magical about going to school for the first time or just going back after school holidays. Do you remember? There’s the smell of fresh exercise books, textas and pencils. The classroom is bright and maybe you have a new name tag and teacher. You get to catch up with old friends and maybe make some new ones. It’s a clean slate. A new year. I loved it for the students and for me as their teacher.

But sometimes, it’s not all roses. Some children find starting school for the first time, or even just after being away on holidays, very daunting. My confession: I cried every day on the first day of school until I was in Grade 3. I was shy and very nervous about making new friends. I was also really happy spending days and nights under my bed covers devouring books…

Like when you’re away from work on holidays for a while, your brain can get a little sluggish, your routines can be looser and your diet may not be what it should be. It’s the same thing for children. Their growing, active minds need to get back into shape before school starts! Here’s my Top 5 tips to help your children be ready for the new school year.

1. Re-establish routine

The first week of school will be easier on everyone if routine is re-established. Gradually get children up earlier and have set morning tea and lunch times to avoid ‘snacking.’ Older children can start reading set novels, contact books or fill in their diary. If they aren’t into this kind of thing, entice them by taking them to select their own sticker labels, contact and stationery.

I’m really liking the Printed Document Wallets from Officeworks at a $2.47. Great for putting loose papers in that don’t make it into a folder or glued into an exercise book.


2. Get that Growing Mind going again

You bet it makes a difference! One week of school trying to get that brain ticking again can be one week they could have achieved at their full potential. I taught many children a couple of years in a row, and when they came back from summer holidays the amount some children ‘forgot’ can be quite significant! The biggest one that faded away from memory?

* READING – Can’t stress that one enough. Especially for Primary School students. It doesn’t matter what they read. Just that they read. Take library trips, buy magazines, go the the zoo and read the signs. Research their favourite topic and print information out for some night time reading. But keep them reading and read to them. Have I made my point?

* Mental Stimulation – Keep kids mentally stimulated with jigsaw puzzles, mental maths games or board games. Glued to their technology? Then Officeworks has you sorted.

Officeworks have launched an app called The Growing Minds which is JAM PACKED full of concentration, memory and mental learning games to get the brains of children from Prep to teenagers in Year 12 ticking again. I checked them out and they were clever and fun even for me! They become increasingly difficult as you progress meaning that children will be continually challenged. You can download it for free via iTunes or Google Play.

3. Talk about school…but not too much!

For little ones starting school, it is important to discuss school with them. Talking about it helps build familiarisation and gets them excited about going. Driving past the building and talking about it as well as using whatever information you have such as teacher’s name, friends in their class and so on helps to calm them.

But on the flipside, for some kids talking about it too much can build such an anticipation that when they get to the day they crumble. I’ve been talking to Tom about pre-school but not too much because I know what he is like. He will build the excitement up so much that when it comes to the day he will be overwhelmed, retreat and become clingy. He might do this regardless but it’s best not to build it up too much.

4. Organise a Study Space

This can be fun. Freshen up a study space or find a new one. I know lots of people use the dining room table and that can be ok if it can’t be avoided but it is nice for children to have ownership over their own learning space. It teaches them organisational skills and helps build healthy study habits. Whether this space is in a public, private, loud or quiet space of the house is up to you and where you and your child feel they learn best. The Paddington Kids Desk Blue from Officeworks is perfect with a scratch resistant finish and plenty of storage space for RRP $65.

Paddington Desk

5. Budget

Things can get a little out of hand at back to school time and it can be tempting to over purchase, eg. Do they really need to have a pack of 100 textas in their pencil case on the first day? (The answer is NO by the way! They’ll spend half their days searching for a particular colour or their grey lead…)

So set a budget and if you have an older child work with them to write a list of what they might need and stick to it.  Officeworks has all the school supplies you need for any age and have a Parents Price Promise. If you find an identical stocked item on a school list at a lower price they will beat it by 20%! That’s a huge saving if you ask me. Officeworks is also supporting The Smith Family’s Back to School Appeal again in 2015. It’s a great time to put part of the savings you make into a donation for those less fortunate.

PHEW! DEEP BREATH. So are you ready for school? Do you have any tips to add?

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