12 Tips For a Better School Year

The new school year is just around the corner! Kids are getting excited about seeing old friends and making new ones. Teachers are getting ready to help children engage with their learning and discover new skills. Meanwhile, parents are tasked with keeping organised, creating solid routines, and supporting children to be their best.

To help, we’ve put together some tips on everything from morning strategies and homework helpers to lunch box solutions and easy organisation tips that will end up moving you to the head of the class.

1. Get all the gear

Find out as early as possible what the school requires the kids to have in terms of books, stationery, and uniform. It will make it easier for them to get a great start to the school year if they have everything they need ready for their first day.

2. Make mornings organised …

Trying to get out of the door on time when a school bell or work commitments beckon can make for a stressful start to the day. A morning routine is the key to calm! Take some time to create a morning routine for each member of your family. You might need to make one for each day so you can incorporate things like packing gear for after-school activities.

Find out more about why routines are so good.

3. … and afternoons

Embedding an afternoon routine can help take some of the pressure off the routine for the following morning. Include getting their lunchboxes out and into the kitchen as soon as they come in the door. Set aside time for homework, a snack, and some reading.

4. Keep time

The key to a successful routine is knowing the time – and this is where simple-to-read clocks are essential. Showing the children how to read the time for themselves will give your kids the power to stick to their routine and get themselves organised (without nagging from you).

5. Ready, set breakfast

A healthy nutritious breakfast puts kids in the right mood for learning and gives you peace of mind that they have the best start to their day. Kids as young as four or five years old can get a bowl of cold cereal for themselves and as they get older they can learn to safely use the toaster or microwave.

Try these breakfast ideas for quick, healthy starts to the school day.

6. Keep lunch boxes easy

While we all want to love and nurture our children by packing the best and most exciting lunch box possible, we also need to balance our aspirations against reality. Consider packing the lunch boxes the night before and pop them in the fridge – remembering that it takes some time to find the food the kids will actually eat and that you will find easy to prepare.

7. Share the load

A busy school year means less time for housework as you’re busy balancing other priorities such as homework help, after-school activities, or packing lunches. Share the housework load around everyone in the home with 36 easy chores that kids can tackle.

8. Problems are a learning experience

Term time at school isn’t always perfect and our children don’t always behave like angels or the genius we had hoped they would be. School rules, expectations and social pressures can be too much for our kids and it’s not uncommon for problems to rear their head once children settle into the school year. It can be anything from bullies to learning problems to physical problems that come up and unsettle us – be ready to embrace them!

Find out more about difficulties at school.

9. Teamwork

Even though your child is away at school every day you are still very much part of their learning team. As you already know, each child is different and the way they learn and interact throughout their school years will be too. Try to gain an understanding of the different ways that children learn, general milestones, and how you can support their learning.

Tips and techniques for better learning.

10. Labels, names, and ownership

Label all your child’s belongings including the library bag and especially the school hat. Encourage your child to dress themselves so they can manage things like taking jumpers or coats on and off at school. Explain the concept of “lost property” to your kids, so they know how to find lost items on their own. Then cross your fingers and hope they have listened to you!

11. Rules and behaviour

Schools have a range of approaches to reinforce the good behaviour measures taught by parents – so learn what they are and make sure you can back them up at home! For students in the early years, the focus will be on learning to work cooperatively with others and to follow instructions from the teacher. It’s a parent’s job to remind and reinforce the school rules at home so kids understand why certain actions are unacceptable.

Find out more about school-age children’s behaviour.

12. Sleep

You can be certain that the school year will go a lot more smoothly if your child is getting enough sleep.

Find out more about how to help your child get more rest.

Share your back-to-school tips in the comments below.

See more:

This article was written by Alex Brooks for Kidspot Australia and has been adapted for Kidspot NZ.


  1. Alezandra 03/03/2019 at 10:27 pm

    This is a such a good list and each to-do gives you even more tips to make it easier. Although I don’t have a school age kid yet, I have a 4 year old now and reading this is giving me the tools for when we start or before we even start school. I am especially reminded by number 8 that we as parents are the best teachers and role models for our kids and it starts at home.

  2. felicity beets 02/03/2019 at 7:58 pm

    Will definitely need to prepare as much I can the night before, before kindergarten starts – not looking forward to the early starts.

  3. kymmage 01/03/2019 at 6:03 am

    My best tip would be to get a good strong relationship going with the teacher as quickly as possible. Share your email address or mobile. Make sure you are on the same page re what your kid needs. Share stories of their successes at home. And make sure you’re a unit, including your own partner. He or she is just as capable of helping your child through stuff, but you need that supportive unit.

  4. MuddledUpMolly 27/02/2019 at 3:50 pm

    As a mum and teacher myself, all of these tips we have incorporated into our daily life as it is so vital for my own sanity! Organisation is definitely the key to managing it all and I would encourage everyone to do as many of these tips as possible 🙂

  5. dawnblyth 27/02/2019 at 11:03 am

    My big thing I am working on this year is getting up early enough to get organised. Our other thing this year is biking to school. Good for the mind and body

  6. SarahBlair 26/02/2019 at 5:09 pm

    Mornings can be crazy! I always make sure that I have the kids clothes ready the night before so that they can eat breakfast then get dressed while I make their lunch, everything usually goes smoothly as long as we keep calm and everybody cooperates

  7. Shorrty4life1 13/02/2019 at 12:41 pm

    I’m loving the littterless lunch box ideas. Some great ideas in there. I tend to do all my laundry the night before. Then I don’t have to worry the next morning. I also do homework soon as they get home from school then the can relax. Breakfast is a must as soon as we wake and while I’m doing breakfast they get dressed. I pack lunches the night before and put bags in the car ready for the next morning. And I make sure uniforms are out on top of draws for the morning the night before.

  8. Jen_Wiig 13/02/2019 at 12:38 pm

    My best tip probably would be make a “training week” so for us a week before school was due back we were back into school routine… Earlier bedtimes, i made the 3 boys lunches like i would normally for school and made sure their uniforms and the spares were ready for action.
    I went ahead and got the stationary and new lunchboxes as well.
    So come first day back we were better prepped and wasnt such a shock to the system and eased into it.
    For the first time ever in my boys schooling years ive started doing lunches in the evening and why i hadnt done it sooner ill never know but so so glad i have now

  9. Bevik1971 06/02/2019 at 3:47 pm

    I had my first total hip replacement on the 24th of Jan so it has thrown our school routine out the window a wee bit. I am the driver and unable to drive for 6 weeks so 6 year old and Dad walking to and from school everyday for a while. We try to ensure we get things as sorted as possible the night before and in the mornings I’ll try and keep our daughter on track with hair and clothing etc while Dad does the rest 🙂

  10. Mands1980 06/02/2019 at 10:07 am

    These are great ideas I alway struggle with lunch’s so having more ideas is helpful. I name all the kids clothing with iron on labels. I am pretty organised with washing I can’t stand having it lying round it’s washed and on the line then folded straight away. We gets all there clothing ready the night before as well so it’s so much easier in the mornings.

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