9 tips to make the back-to-school journey a breeze
Returning to school after the summer holidays is an opportunity for parents and their children to share a space for important daily communication. The car can be the scene of that special moment.
The first day back to school can be especially stressful. Everything seems to go wrong, and it seems, with the summer holidays, that all normally routines have now been forgotten. But there is nothing not much you can do about that. September has come and with it comes back the classes and the morning hustle.
We have put together our top 9 tips to prepare for the first day back-to-school trip.
Check the car the night before
Don't be caught by surprise with a low or empty fuel tank on the morning of the first day back. Take a few minutes the night before to give your car a once over. Check your car’s fuel or battery levels, the tyres and fluids like oil. With some simple car maintenance, you’ll ensure there are no car troubles in the morning and that the car is safe for your children. Consider doing this together with your kid(s) and make it a fun activity!
Leave in time
While the roads might have been quiet in July and August, by the time September comes everyone seems to be back driving. Can you imagine the traffic jams as everyone returns to school and work? To avoid a stressed journey, leave the house with a bit of extra time to be prepared for first day traffic. As the days pass and you adjust, you’ll find you slip back into the rhythm of commuting with your kids but for those first few days it’s important to be prepared and leave on time.
Make a list and check it before leaving
Children have a lot of things that they need for the first day of the school year. The books, backpacks, diary, pens and sometimes a uniform. Lunches, snacks and holiday homework shouldn’t be forgotten either! There’s a lot to remember and in the stress of leaving on the first day it’s easy to forget something. To ensure you don’t have to return home to pick up something you forgot, making a list the night before and checking it before you leave makes sure you don’t leave anything behind.
Create interest in the new school year
The first day back to school can be stressful for the parents who have to get back into the rhythm, but it can also be very stressful for your children. For your children a new school year means new classes (or teachers), new timetables, and possibly new friends. The unknown of what the year will bring can cause your children to worry so the commute is the perfect time to start on a positive note. Talk about how exciting this new school year will be. Emphasize the good times they are going to experience. New friends, new subjects, learn about the experiences of friends during the summer. The goal must be to create positive expectations for this new school year.
Don’t let traffic jams stress you out
You know there will probably be traffic jams. So don't worry or stress. Take the opportunity to start talk or play a game with your children. Stressing won’t make the traffic move any faster so make the time you spend in a traffic jam a fun and enriching space to spend with your children.
Children under 12 years in the back seat
Safety is of the utmost importance. It’s common knowledge that seat belts must always be worn in a car but regulations around child seats and when children can sit in the front passenger seat are often not as well known. In the European Union, children under 12 years old cannot travel as a front seat passenger and children shorter than 135 centimetres must use a child’s seat, no matter their age. As your children get older, they may push to sit in the front or give up the child’s seat but for their own safety, it’s essential to follow these guidelines.
Seat belts must always be worn
For any trip, no matter how short or how long, the use of a seat belt is mandatory.
Park in the right place
Generally, parking to drop children off or pick them up can be a drama. With the stress to get your children in on time and the heavy traffic as all other parents are dropping off their children it can be chaos. Always park in the areas the school recommends or go through the school’s recommended drop off area for the safety of your children and all other kids being dropped off. Be aware that all children are getting used to more traffic.
Check the departure time
Finally, do not forget to check the departure time. On the first day back, the departure time might be different from normal hours. Exhausting? Yes, it can be, but the trips to and from school are also pleasant experiences that your children will keep for life.
The important thing is that it be done safely and with love.