It is the right time of year for you and your children to establish positive habits, says Simon Severino, Headmaster at Alleyn’s Junior School.

September has come around again; the nights will begin to draw in, and the cycle of the school year begins afresh. Whether your child is new to school or moving up through the age groups (Year 5 already – how did that happen?), now is the perfect time to consider how to introduce or refine positive habits before the daily schedule glides into autopilot.

A relaxed start is a positive start

A consistent routine is a great help, and preparation is key. Activities such as packing school bags the evening before can help the morning run smoothly. Ensuring your child arrives on time to school, without rushing, provides a relaxed start that can have a very positive knock-on impact for the rest of the day.

Establish a precedent for homework

Encourage your children to write down their homework as accurately as possible, and do check their homework/contact books every day. Keeping track helps to avoid last minute panic for both parents and children. Allocating a specific time and space for doing homework establishes a good precedent and helps focus. If possible the space should be relatively quiet and free from electronic distractions, and it is helpful for an adult to be on hand to provide support where appropriate.

Have a good night of sleep

Every child’s emotional make-up is different, but there are some simple actions that can help to support and build emotional capacity for everyone. A good night’s sleep is priceless for its positive impact on learning and behaviour. So is regular exercise, although it is equally important not to overschedule afterschool and out-of-school activities. A sensible diet and regular mealtimes are also hugely beneficial to help regulate moods.

Happy boys and girls make happy pupils

To help your child take charge of their emotional needs, show them that it is healthy to talk about how they feel, and try to have regular chats with them about out of school topics as well as their school days, school friends and learning. Encourage them to talk to their teachers, too, and make sure they know who to see at school if they are worried about something. Happy boys and girls make happy pupils!

September also heralds the start of Open Day season. Open events are a great opportunity for parents and children to get a feel for a school. To make the most of them, our admissions team says: “Wander around, notice how staff and pupils behave, and listen to talks by senior leaders. Importantly, make sure you leave with all your queries answered – pick your moment and take a staff member aside for questions. They should be prepared and happy to help”.