5 unexpected things that will help your kid get ready for school

Getting your kids ready for the new school year isn’t all ironing uniforms and packing a healthy lunchbox.

Here are five unexpected ways you can use the summer break to prepare for the year ahead in the classroom.

Build good sleeping habits

Holidays mean relaxation, but Australian Centre for Education in Sleep founder and director Professor Sarah Blunden says parents and children should exercise bedtime discipline.

“Try to keep your sleep within an hour of what it was when you’re at school, but if you can’t do that, maybe a month before you go back to school, you have to start moving your bedtime back to normal slowly in 15-minute increments every couple of days, and you do the same thing with your wake-up time,” Professor Blunden says.

Prof Blunden says that applies to younger children and especially adolescents.

Vitamin A for best results

Carrots, a prime source of Vitamin A, shouldn’t just be for Rudolph on Christmas Eve.

Vitamin A is present in many dark green and orange foods including carrots, kale, mango and sweet potato.

It’s vital for vision, and helps organs including the heart, lung and kidneys function properly.

It’s also been found to be crucial to juvenile brain development and cognitive ability in adults.

Maintaining your children’s Vitamin A intake is as easy as offering carrot sticks or the ultimate summer treat, chilled mango slices.

Make a game of summer

Take advantage of Australia’s great climate and turn our outdoor lifestyle into an educational experience.

Check out this list of summer activities designed to prepare all age groups from junior primary age to seniors for school.

Everything from counting pool toys to scoring cricket games to star-gazing and travelling with maps can be an educational resource.

Wiggle it, just a little bit

Queensland University of Technology researchers have found a program of simple movements set to music such as marching, wiggling or tapping to the beat might help pre-schoolers prepare for school.

A cohort of 113 children from three preschools in disadvantaged communities was tested. Those who followed an eight-week activity program were found to have improved self-regulation and behavioural control.

Keep up the reading

We know the importance of reading to our kids, but a recent Ohio State University study hammers home the notion that six weeks of school holidays is no time to abandon story time.

The study found kids who are read five books a day head to kinder having heard about 1.4 million words than kids whose parents never read to them.

The researchers’ so-called “million-word difference” could be a major factor in reading development and vocabulary.

Imagine how many words they might miss in a book-free summer holiday.

More back to school prep:

Written by Jamie Duncan.