The 4Rs of primary school holidays

5 - 11 years
Mother and son fishing

We all know the three Rs of school, but what about the four Rs of the holidays? Follow these steps to help your child get ready for the new school year (or term)…


The great thing about the summer holidays is how long they are! Try to give your child (and yourself) plenty of downtime so that you are all relaxed and refreshed by the time school starts again. If you can, keep the final days of the holidays fairly quiet, rather than tiring everyone out with last-minute activities.


The New Year’s tradition of reflecting on the past and making resolutions for the future is not just for adults. It’s a great way to help your child learn from their experiences of the last school year and set themselves up for the next. There’s no need to hold a formal ‘review’, just find some time to talk with your child about:

  • things they did and didn’t like about school last year
  • things they feel they did and didn’t do well
  • things they’d like to do and achieve this year.

Then talk about what your child can do to achieve their goals, and how you can help them. If they had some challenges last year, talk about what happened and why, and work out what your child (and you) can do this year so they have a better time. When your child has strategies for handling problems of the past, backed up by your support, they are much more likely to start the new school year with a positive mindset.


The new school year gives every child a fresh start – different classmates, probably a different teacher, perhaps even a different school. At school your child will also have more independence, responsibilities and opportunities, so it’s a good time to think about giving them more at home too. Here are some areas to consider:

  • personal responsibility – making their own lunches, unpacking their school bag
  • family contribution – setting the table, putting away washing
  • routines – bedtimes
  • privileges – screen time, TV programs.


A gradual transition from ‘holiday mode’ to ‘school mode’ makes the first day back much easier, so start getting back into the school routine a few days before the term starts. Involve your child in getting all their school things ready, and check how they are feeling about going back to school.

Then make sure they get a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast, give them a big hug, and send them off to class knowing that you’ve given them a great start to the school year!

More in this series
Back to school
5 - 11 years
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Last modified
17 December 2020