Mark Lewis with his son, Kurt.

Your back to school guide ahead of the 2022 football season

January 10th, 2022

With parents getting ready for their children to head back to school, now is the time to prepare.

And for Mark Lewis, the key is routine.

Lewis is the assistant principal at Charlestown East Public School, where he also teaches a year six class.

He is also a football parent, with his 11-year-old son Kurt playing at Newcastle Olympic, where Lewis coaches the under-12s side. Meaning he understands the difficulties parents have fitting in football during a busy time of the year.

Making plans

“I try and sit down during dinner maybe on a weekend and plan one or two things you can do during the week,” Lewis said.

“A lot of 11 and 12-year-olds have phones these days so they can be planning things before you know it. But if you can be proactive and have a talk to your kids early enough you can make better plans.

“It might be on Thursday we’ll go back to school shopping. Friday maybe we’ll go to Holey Moley for lunch. Saturday we’ll go for a kick down the park and have a picnic.

“Just taking the time to plan really makes a difference at a busy time of year when you’re trying to fit things in like football.”

Routine, routine, routine…

Lewis said in his experience as a teacher and parent of two, his biggest advice for other parents preparing their children to return to school, or preparing their child for school for the first time, was to get them into a routine early.

“If I’ve got 30 kids in a class, 25 will slip out of their routine over the holidays and you’ll see a change in them. They like that routine. They won’t admit it but it really is good for them,” Lewis said.

“Just getting up early in the morning again, get breakfast into them so they’re awake, alert and ready to learn.

“Some kids will be real deer in the headlights coming back. They’re just not used to getting up, getting dressed, eating. In the last few years we definitely have more kids who are gamers and are staying up late, having a lot of screen time and they’re much less active. So if they don’t have that good routine and good rest, as a teacher you’re not getting anything out of them until 11 o’clock.

“That two hours in the morning is the golden time for learning from our point of view. That’s when most schools do their big learning blocks for the day. So that routine is important to give kids their best chance of being successful at school.”

Talk to your kids

Lewis said back to school checklists could be helpful to start conversations around returning to the classroom and putting children and parents in the right frame of mind.

“I think the best thing [a checklist] does is stimulate thought,” Lewis said.

“I know from my own perspective taking the kids to go get what they need helps them start thinking about school again and getting them back into their routine. You don’t want it to be an afterthought.

“If you do it last minute it will always be rushed and that’s how you can miss stuff.”

Lewis said another helpful back to school tip was to always talk to children about school, but to try and start on a positive note.

“I always tell my parents to talk to their kids about school,” Lewis said.

“But when you ask any child any day what happened at school today you’ll always get the worst 10 seconds of that day.

“I encourage them to ask ‘tell me something good that happened today’. It creates a better situation. Everyone has bad stuff happen every day. Parents work hard and can’t always find a lot of time, maybe only three or four minutes, to have short conversations with their children about their day. And it’s not nice to have negative ones.

“A lot of things can be positive. So I say to parents ask your kids to tell you something good that happened today. Often it will lead to better lines of communication.”

Registration information for parents

Want to sign up your child for football in 2022? Register HERE

Having trouble? Parents can contact the PlayFootball team directly if they are having issues with registering by emailing support@playfootball.com.au or calling 02 8880 7983.

The support team will be available from 9am until 9pm throughout January and February, with the potential for the extended service to continue into March.

While registrations for some community clubs will open from the first week of January, NNSWF’s annual official date for open registrations is 1 February. Contact your club for more information.

Parents can contact the PlayFootball team directly if they are having issues with registering by emailing support@playfootball.com.au or calling 02 8880 7983.

The support team will be available from 9am until 9pm throughout January and February, with the potential for the extended service to continue into March.

While registrations for some community clubs will open from the first week of January, NNSWF’s annual official date for open registrations is 1 February. Contact your club for more information.

Register HERE

Related Topics:
back to school checklist Mark Lewis

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