Sadly, the summer holidays are all but over, which means it’s time to get ready for the new school year. Having the kids back in school can be a huge source of relief for parents, but navigating those first few weeks back is no walk in the park.

From shopping for new stationery, arranging afterschool activities, or simply helping out with homework, there are endless things to organise. If you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown, don’t despair – it’s perfectly normal to feel a little frazzled by the arrival of a new school year. Before your household descends into utter chaos, check out our back to school guide for parents.

establish a routine

This tip is number one for a reason – without a routine, even the most relaxed parent is bound to start tearing their hair out. Avoid first week morning mayhem by starting your routine early. This can be as simple as slowly bringing bedtime forward in the week before school starts. Rather than going cold turkey on your laidback summer lifestyle, this approach will help ease your child back into a routine and avoid those stressful morning meltdowns.

Creating an afternoon routine can also help minimise back to school stress. Draw up a weekly schedule that marks your child's after-school activities, whether they're co-curricular, playdates or homework times. Having everything clearly mapped out will help your child to stay on top of each week’s commitments.

encourage independence

Worried that you may be turning into a helicopter parent? Why not use the new school year to give your kids a chance to spread their wings? Little jobs like laying out their uniform every night, packing their lunch or setting their own morning alarms is a great way to teach your kids independence as they grow up.

after-school activities

With technology playing such a large role in kids’ lives these days, it can be difficult to drag them away from their phones, iPads and PlayStations. While there’s nothing wrong with a little screen time, it’s still important for kids to spend time outdoors. Enrolling your children in co-curricular activities is a great way to keep them physically and mentally active. Signing up for team sports can also help them make new friends.

set ‘homework time’

Getting used to homework can be just as daunting for parents as it is for kids, but there are ways to make this aspect of school less heinous. If you’re struggling to keep up with your child’s workload, try scheduling ‘homework times’ in the afternoons. Be it as soon as they get home or later in the evening, having a dedicated time to get homework over and done with will make life easier for everyone.

talk openly

Not to go all armchair psychologist on you, but kids can face a lot of pressure at school. Having a chat with your child about the the new school year is a great way to remind them that you’re in this together.

From cyberbullying to body image, make sure your child knows that no topic is off limits. Kids often feel too embarrassed to admit something is bothering them, so it may take some persistence to get them to open up. By fostering trust with your child, you can create an environment where they feel comfortable talking to you about anything.

prepare for emergencies

From missed buses to cancelled music lessons, all kinds of things can do wrong during a school day. In case of emergencies, it’s not a bad idea to keep some extra money stashed in your kid's bag. It might also be time to get them their very first mobile phone. Having access to a phone will allow your child to stay in contact, whether it’s to let you know they’ve arrived somewhere safely or to ask for an early pick-up.

Getting your child their first phone is a big decision – how do you know if your child is responsible enough for a phone and how do you stop them going over their plan?

Our award-winning $10 UNLIMITED plan is a top choice for kids. At just $10 every renewal (28 days), parents can avoid long lock-in contracts while controlling how much their child is spending. There are also lots of parental controls you can use to keep your child from getting up to no good with their mobile.

To see more data and talk and text options that may be suited to your kid’s first phone, check out our full range of mobile plans - if they're in the market for a new device, our device store has you covered and offers the latest range of unlocked phones, tablets and tech accessories at great low prices.

Are you ready to tackle the new school year? With the right attitude, getting ready for school doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. If you start to feel like things are getting out of control, remember that stress is an inevitable part of this process, and that you’re only human.

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