top of page

Thriving (not just surviving) Term 1

Hi there! If you’re a parent with a child about to get back into school routine, hang on for the ride. There is always a lot to adjust to in term 1 especially if this is your first year as a school mum (or dad) or you’ve really let the routine slide over the holidays and need a quick reminder to help start the year on track!


Now with all that said, it is possible to THRIVE (not just survive) these first few weeks of the school year! I have 6 tips for you that will ensure you feel organised and on top of this back to school busy-ness! It is so important that you are calm and organised when school returns after the long summer holidays so that your child begins the year feeling calm and ready too. That way they can concentrate on making friends, flourish with their learning and ease straight into school routines!



1)     Afternoon Pick Up = Clearly communicate your pick up routine with your child - Be clear about your pick up routine in the afternoons. Ensure your child knows how they are being collected at the end of each school day. Are they walking home, going to after school care, or being collected by a family member? And on which days? If you or someone else is picking them up from school, have a conversation about what they should do if you are not there yet… Perhaps one day there will be a traffic accident on your way to school pick up or it is pouring with rain and the carpark is super busy. In these instances, would your child know where to wait for you or if they should go to the school office or would they just panic?

Casually have a chat about this on the way to school a few times in these first few weeks to ensure they feel comfortable that they would know what to do and that if you are not there when they expect you to be, they are calm and prepared to deal with the situation.


So, to recap; talk to your child about what the pick up arrangements are for each day of the week early in the year and then repeat. Sometimes in the mornings we forget to remind them but if you have had conversations about what happens on the different days, they have more chance of recalling what the pick up routine is.


💡Chalkie’s Idea: If your child is in Prep (kindergarten) to Year 2, it is a good idea to communicate your child’s before and after school arrangements at the start of the year so they can help remind your child if needed.


2)     Difficult Drop Offs = Dealing with Separation Anxiety – It is really common for children to have difficulty separating from a parent in the mornings at school drop off. Each child’s anxiety can present differently, however, I have worked alongside many parents when their child experiences this. It does require you to have nerves of steel. It can be very emotional and draining for you when they cry, scream and refuse to leave you. It can be very distressing to have them pulled away from you too. Again, each child is different and may require more intensive support to get past this anxiety, however, these are a few tips to try in these first few weeks of school.

-        Keep calm and smile, even when you walk away you must keep going.

-        Leave them with an adult if you can or at an activity, then say, “Goodbye, I love you, I will see you after school” and leave. Even when your child is off playing with friends, if you hang around and chat with other parents and are visible to your child, it can worsen their anxiety.

-        If you say goodbye, you must follow through and leave, be out of sight and know that the adults looking after them will be checking in on them.


Many children get past the separation anxiety once routine is familiar, however, if it continues after the first month, you could seek a medical professional’s advice. The key here is to ensure your own anxiety does not present onto your child. They see and feel you, so notice your own emotions. There are some great picture books out there that you can read with your child at home to help too. 


💡Chalkie's idea; Draw a heart on your wrists in the morning so they can see you love them throughout the day or put an invisible kiss in their pocket for the day.


3)     Don’t Talk it Up Too Much = Be truthful about school – If your child is starting big school for the first time don’t hype it up too much as it is not all fun and games! School is hard to adjust to for some children, it requires a lot of listening, learning new routines and meeting new people. It can be very tiring and isn’t all fun and rainbows. Let’s not lie to them and make it out to be the best thing ever. Instead, be truthful that it can be tiring and a long day while still assuring them that it will get easier, and they will make friends and find things at school that they will enjoy. Ask them each afternoon what was their highlight of the day or one thing that they really enjoyed… Many children will say lunchtime or the part when they played with the other kids or with toys of course and that is ok. Be ok with them not sharing much with you, just know that A LOT happens in one day and not all children will find everything about school enjoyable.


4)     Take it Easy in Term 1 - In the first term or at least the first few weeks of school, wind back any outside of school activities if your child is tired, emotional and overwhelmed. It is important that he/she feels refreshed and ready each new day of school so make the afternoons chilled, fun and unstructured whenever possible to help them wind down after each long day. Most children in the afternoons need time for food, play and rest. Many children (especially boys) simply don’t like to go to the toilet at school either, so be prepared for them to want to have their daily bowel movement in the afternoons too.


5)     Prepare for Information Overload – For parents, there is a lot for schools to share with you especially at the beginning of the year, so be prepared for an overflow of information from the school about various things. From timetables for what is on each day, a calendar of events for the term, emails and newsletters plus information on how to complete homework with your child. There is a lot to take in. Understand that schools will feed you a lot of information and some things will seem like it is coming to you at short notice. Understand that schools have a lot going on at once and many people helping to make things happen. Be understanding and patient. Learn which methods the school uses to communicate most efficiently e.g., via emails, through Facebook posts, by using an App or Parent Portal. If you do have a calendar in your phone or on your fridge, pop events or important dates on it as soon as you hear about them so you don’t lose track of what is coming up as you may miss reminders in the overload of information coming at you!


6)     Get to know your child’s timetable – Never forget the sports uniform, musical instrument or library books again! Once your school or child’s teacher shares with you their weekly timetable ensure you put it on the fridge or write it down so that each night you can check what is needed for the following day. It will take a little while to get on top of it and it can take your child even longer to remember so help them to remember. A good way to start helping your child to remember things for each day is to put it up in the house where it is visible for them and encourage them to check it daily until they get into the habit of checking for themselves or remembering what they need on certain days. Even if you need to, record when homework will be done so that both you and your child can put the time aside to work on it together. Think about which times and which days suit your family to complete homework tasks. While a little bit of time each night is recommended, in reality if you have just 3 nights to complete it all, prioritise it so that your child starts to build it into their routine and you don’t end up stressing about trying to get it all done at the last minute.


Well, there you have it. I have now shared with you my 6 Tips for Thriving as a Parent in Term 1. Feel free to comment or message me if you want to know more or if you want to let me know how this has helped you.


All the best for a great start to the school year!



Hi! I’m Chalkie.

I want to empower you to feel confident as a parent and to help you gain clarity about your parenting role!

bottom of page