by Dr Ray Swann

Keep, Stop, Start: A back to school routine

I’m sure many of you are like me with the range of thoughts and emotions I have experienced in recent months, both as a parent of a teenage boy and as an educator.

The pandemic has certainly changed much of what we know (or taken for granted) and we have become familiar with phrases like ‘the new normal’.

Much has been written about the lockdown and, despite a focus on the difficulties, there have also been some real positives.

For many, more time at home has seen better connections formed and an increase in chores at home (up 70%) and time with pets (up 38%).

So this simple routine of keep, stop, start might be timely for you and your son to help him reflect on his experience of distance learning before he heads back to school.

There has been so much change in your son’s life and it’s important to acknowledge what has worked well for him and what hasn’t.  Set aside some time for a conversation with him using this framework:


Over the last few months, what is something that you’ve learnt about yourself, something that you might like to keep?

Prompts could include: being more engaged in family life, being more engaged in school life through online cocurricular programs


As you are heading back to school, is there something that you did previously that you now no longer want to do? Is there something that you could let go of?

Prompts could include: being less concerned about ‘keeping up’/FOMO (fear of missing out), or it could be related to health and wellbeing more broadly, including sleep and diet.


No doubt you’ve thought about some things you might want to do differently when you’re back at school. It could be a new ‘way of being’, or it might be that you have become more grateful for something.

Prompts could include: Can you get involved in other activities on offer at school? Is there something that you haven’t done that maybe you could try?

Whatever the outcome of your conversation, this will be an invaluable time for you to check in with your son about how he is feeling as our learning landscape continues to evolve.


Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

Dr Ray Swann is Deputy Headmaster and Head of Crowther Centre at Brighton Grammar School, an all-boys school in Melbourne. His professional background includes consulting, research, lecturing and coaching This article is about


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