The new school year is finally here! With it comes a fresh mindset, new friends to make, different work to prepare for, and a whole set of interesting challenges. It’s a good idea to plan the back-to-school process ahead, as this will make the transition easier for everyone. For the past month or so, they’ve been in holiday mode, and school is probably the last thing on their minds. A week or so before the start of the new term, try to gradually get their heads back into school mode so they’re ready to go at the first ring of the bell in January! 1. Set achievable goals Ask your kids what they’d like to accomplish this year, and what new activities they’re looking forward to. Then help them set achievable goals. Offer practical suggestions as to how you can support and incentivise them. For example, if you always run late in the mornings because the kids won’t get out of bed, you could buy them an old-fashioned alarm clock, and show them how to set and wind it themselves. 2. Get your children back into work mode The holiday period is a well-deserved break for your kids, but it’s important that any work ethic they developed during the previous school year isn’t forgotten. A good way of getting them back into a disciplined mindset to draw up a schedule of age-appropriate household chores, and also to create a list of house rules for the new year. 3. Start the year afresh Organise uniforms, stationery and sports gear well ahead of the big day. Ask the kids to help you cover new books, and to label all their stationery and clothing. This will help give them a sense of ownership of their possessions, and it’s also a great way to spend time together discussing the challenges of the new school year. Create a family noticeboard for displaying school notices, schedules and artwork. Finally, ask them to tidy their rooms, shelves and wardrobes so everything is as neat as a pin before the school rush begins. 4. Prepare a homework plan Many children struggle to cope with new homework challenges that come with the start of school. Cultivating good homework habits now will be of huge benefit to them when they move forward into high school. Set clear boundaries about how, when and where homework is to be done every day. If your kids did their homework in front of the TV last year, now’s the time to create a quiet study area somewhere in the house, and incentivise them by creating a star chart so they feel rewarded when the work is done! 5. Be a good role model Set a great example for your kids. If you preach that hard work, dedication and the will to succeed are the keys to happiness and success, they will achieve great things not only in school, but also in their adult lives. If they see you working hard, keeping organised and striving to achieve your goals, they will follow in your footsteps. Make an effort to stay in contact with your children’s teachers, and to take an interest in all aspects of their school lives. Inspire, motivate and support – then sit back and watch as your little ones accomplish truly excellent things. Are you ready for challenges of the new school year, Smart Moms? Tell us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.