Back to school in eight easy steps

It’s always a bit of a downer when the holidays end. After the freedom and enjoyment of the summer holidays, when school was a distant memory for most children, it’s often difficult to get them back into the ‘school’ way of thinking and the necessary routine this inevitably involves.

Hopefully you will have had lots of fun, imaginative, outdoor play, lots of family time together and a family holiday, either here in the UK or to warmer climes overseas.

But now it’s time to get back to the routine. When the new term begins it can be a challenging time for many reasons for both children and parents, so here are a few ideas to get the youngsters into the right frame of mind and to ease them from holiday mode back into school mode.

Tip 1:

Reconnect with school friends

Often, for younger children in particular, they’ve spent time with family and family friends during the holidays so a few play dates with friends from school are always a good way to kick off the school mindset.

Tip 2:

Talk about school

Start talking about school to see how the children are feeling about going back. Highlight any exciting things to look forward during the coming year – Christmas plays, school discos, sports teams and so on – and tease out any anxieties or worries they may have.

Tip 3:

Reset the family’s body clock

Bed times and getting up times are always more lax during the holidays, so start bringing them more into line with the normal term times. Children – and mums and dads too – will need to get back in the routine so everyone gets the sleep they need – and gets up on time in the morning!

Young girl in front hallway fixing shoe and smiling

Tip 4:

Shop for school uniform

Involve the kids in shopping for their school uniform to get them further into ‘school mode.’ Obviously this isn’t a highlight for them but make it more acceptable by allowing them a choice in shoes or T-shirts within the realms of what is affordable for you and acceptable dress code for the school. And maybe let them have the latest or coolest back pack or lunch box as a bit of a ‘back to school’ treat if budgets allow.

Tip 5:

The big bedroom tidy up

During the summer holidays there will have been lots of opportunities to get out all the toys, including those long forgotten treasures hidden at the bottom of the toy box. Why not spend a day having a good sort out, getting rid of what is no longer used. This will help create a calm, organised environment when school starts and give children the satisfaction of achieving something positive.

Tip 6:

Create an Achievement Tree

This is a quick summer art project that can serve an important purpose all year long! Plus it puts a positive focus onto the academic year ahead.

Draw a tree with lots of brown branches on poster board and create a handful of ‘leaves’ on strips of green paper. Each time your child accomplishes something he or she is proud of they can record it on a leaf and tape it to the tree. By the end of the school year, they will have created a full, lush tree!

Tip 7:

Keep playing outdoors once term time has begun

Outdoor play is a key element of the summer holidays so while the weather is still warm enough, encourage your children to keep on playing outdoors when they get home after school. It will be another way to help ease the transition from holidays into school time at the start of term by still providing them with something they loved to do during the holidays. And why not invite a couple of school friends to join in.

Tip 8:

Stay connected

The beginning of the school year naturally brings with it a host of related activities, including homework, music classes, swimming lessons, PE and games, and much more.

With so much going on it’s important to make some one-on-one time with your child each day. It’s tricky to fit in, but a little goes a long way so try an extra story for toddlers, making up stories at bedtime for pre-schoolers or perhaps gazing at the stars with older children when their younger siblings are in bed. They will all definitely savour such precious time each day and everyone will benefit from simply making the effort at the end of the day for a bit of quite time.

Are you ‘stay-cationing’ this summer?

Most people have experienced a summer holiday in the UK. I particularly treasure the memories of my childhood on a beautiful Cornish beach, diving in the freezing Atlantic and playing jump the waves and then being harshly rubbed dry by my mum and hiding behind the wind breakers with a hot pasty to warm up! Ah, great times.

And I still love holidaying in the UK. Okay, the weather can be unpredictable at times which of course is the big downside, but when it’s good there is really no place I’d rather be. Beautiful countryside, stunning beaches, historic towns and villages, ancient castles, fabulous walks and simply loads of visitor attractions of all descriptions to go to make it a compelling place to spend a holiday, without the many hassles often involved with travelling abroad.

When the weather here plays ball it lifts everyone’s spirits, makes us smile and we simply delight in the fact that it’s a beautiful day in the UK. That doesn’t necessarily happen in a resort somewhere abroad. And it’s never been easier to holiday at home either. Hotels are less formal and welcome families more readily, the standard of accommodation is higher and the choice is wider. Food is much improved, there is again a wider choice and places cater much better for families with children.

So even though there’s a chance of rain one minute, wind the next but also, hopefully, some sun just around the corner, a ‘staycation’ can still be a hugely rewarding, relaxing and fun time for all the family – with special memories to take home too!

Why not tweet us with your favourite childhood summer holiday memories or your plans for your staycation this summer. @360play followed by MK, ST or LE depending on your nearest centre. #staycation

That’s The Twitter Ticket!

Let’s solve your summer holiday boredom. We have 10 family day passes to giveaway!

Just tweet your answer to the following question with the #summerfun and tag us in @360playMK for Milton Keynes @360playST for Stevenage and @360playLE  for Leicester- depending on your nearest centre.

We will pick 10 people at random on Friday 14th August at 5pm. (terms and conditions apply )

Q: What’s the best thing at 360 Play?

You may want to check out the facilities section if you’re new to us! If you’ve been before we would love to see a picture of your favourite thing to do.

Good Luck!

Terms and conditions

Winners will be selected at random by 14th August. Tickets will be valid until 1st September and will be for 4 people, one must be an adult. Tickets cannot be exchanged and have no monetary value. New members will be asked to register and any additional persons will be charged at normal rate. For more information about our pricing please go to