Aaron Ritchie, Australian International School (AIS) Year 5 teacher shares his tips for returning to the classroom. “To make the most of the upcoming year, it’s important that students look after themselves with healthy routines, relevant goals for themselves, and community involvement.”

Set a good routine
A good routine, supported by time-management and organisation, is fundamental to building a successful year. A visual planner works wonders. For younger children, model the skills needed for organising and managing their commitment by using a wall timetable chart. Place this somewhere central in the home so it becomes a habit to look at and use. As the children move up, encourage and empower them to plan their homework load around their other commitments. Planning ahead can prevent last minute panic.

Take time to play & be active
After a hard day of work, young children need time to play, sometimes even with their parents. Taking the time to bond with your child through play builds trusting, open and honest relationships. For older children, consider exercising together. Being active each day helps unwind a busy mind, energising the brain and body for the next day.
Make bedtime routines regular and reliable. Primary school aged children should be averaging 10-11 hours of sleep each night, with teenagers requiring about 8-10 hours. A well-rested brain, supported by healthy food, will be able to concentrate, think and create throughout the school day.

Set personal goals
Take some time to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound), personalised goals at the start of the year. Involve your child in the goal setting process. It’s a life skill they will benefit from well beyond their final exams. Frame goals against the child’s own development. Ask them what they think their strengths and challenges are; they might surprise you. Show them how you set goals in your own life.
When you meet the teacher at a parent interview, consider sharing the goals the child has helped make. Wonderful things happen when schools and homes start working together.

Find your tribe
The start of a school year is a fantastic time to forge new friendships, while maintaining friends from previous years. Encourage your child to make new friends and invite them over for a playdate outside of school hours. Another place to find friends is through sport and cultural pursuits. Encourage your child to try new sports, join the choir, or sign up for Science Club. Not only will they learn new skills, but they’ll also be exposed to potential new friends.


For more tips and advice from education experts, read more in our Jan-Feb magazine