I’m delighted to hand over to Bron from Mumlyfe today who has 10 back to school tips for parents who want to get organised!
If you have a child starting, or going back to school, this year, read on:
Okay, so the last thing you probably want to read in the school holidays are back to school tips. I get it.
I like to pretend that the whole school thing doesn’t exist in January too (especially lunch boxes).
One thing I’ve learned after nine years, though, is that a few preps in Jan can make a world of difference to how smoothly the kids return (or even start) school.
You can bury your head in January and ignore these until later, but I strongly urge you to put my back to school tips into action sooner, rather than later.
Related: Sound School Learning Review
How to get Organised for Back to School
1. Print out a calendar
For a smooth school year, somewhere to write down the who, what and when is an absolute must. I use my phone too, but a paper calendar makes it easy for everyone in the family to keep track, and for me to keep track of everyone in the family. Mumlyfe has a free school calendar that has the holidays and the week numbers printed on it. It’s a game changer. You can print your state here.
2. Have a lunchbox strategy
We make the lunch boxes the night before and stash them in the fridge for the kids to collect in the morning.
Sometimes my kids (who are older now), make their own lunch in the morning.
Our lunch box strategy is simple: protein (eg. chicken wings or tub of chickpeas or tuna sushi or ham sandwich), dairy (eg. cheese or yoghurt), vegetables x 2 (eg. cherry tomatoes and cut up carrots or baby cucumbers and olives), fruit x 1, something baked.
Having a strategy makes it so much easier to plan for and fill those boxes!
Related: Yumbox Review
3. Do a back to school supplies round up
Most schools send out a huge list of stationery supplies each year.
Before you leap in and buy the list, take stock of what you already have at home. Trust me, you already have two HB pencils and a blue pen.
4. Prepare somewhere for notes
School paperwork can quickly overwhelm, especially in the first few weeks back.
We have a quick ‘two tray’ system that works for us.
It’s very old-school: in tray / out tray. Kids put notes in and check in the morning to see if notes need to go out. We also keep homework books in the ‘out’ tray.
5. Hang the backpacks
The best place I know to keep backpacks is the same place they keep them at school: on a hook by the door.
Ours are in a cupboard, on a hook, but the door, but same-same.
A word of caution: don’t assume that frazzled December you cleaned out the backpacks like well-rested January you assumes. I’ll bet that like me, you didn’t. Go do that now. Hold your nose…
6. Contact details list
It’s a good idea to write a list of important phone numbers to keep in a small pocket in your kid’s backpack.
Mum and Dad, the school, doctor, a trusted friend. That way, if anything comes up, wherever they go, they’ll be able to contact you or someone.
If your kids are older, have them keep the list in their phone.
7. School uniform wrangling
If you’ve got the space, it’s worth having a separate drawer for school uniform paraphernalia. There’s so much of is!
Hat, socks, shoes, shirts, shorts, etc. Set up a bucket in the laundry for sock-soaking purposes too. They always need a good soak and a sock bucket helps keep socks together in a way that the laundry basket just can’t seem to manage. Kids and socks, huh?
8. Homework station is go
It doesn’t matter if it’s a corner of the lounge, a desk in a bedroom, or a dedicated study: kids need somewhere set up to do homework.
Keep a cart by the desk with all the supplies they will need (we use one of these from IKEA). The top is for stationery, the middle is for their homework book, and the bottom is for stuff they are working on right now.
9. Get back in touch with friends
Play dates happen for many kids in the holidays, but not all. You might have been away, or just too busy to schedule in some friend time.
So, a couple of weeks before school goes back, it’s nice to get the kids back in touch.
It will make day one of school much less daunting when they’ve seen their buddies and shared their excitement/dread.
10. Re-establish routines
It’s a free-for-all at our place during the holidays, but one of my biggest back to school tips is to get the kids back on track at least two weeks before school returns.
It will make a massive difference to how well they cope with week one, term one.
A proper bedtime/wake time and a more structure in their days will help so much.
Kids get tired in term one, so ensuring they are not too busy straight out of the gates is a must, too. A term off from some activities is one way to do it; going slow on weekends another.
I hope these back to school tips help you out. Enjoy the rest of the hols!
Got any good back to school tips to share?
About the Author
Bron is the founder Mumlyfe, a website for mums of older kids. Mumlyfe helps parents of tweens and teens flourish, so they can nurture enlightened, passionate kids who make a difference. Her eBook Screen Freedom helps mums kick kids off screens without fights.
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Thank you so much Bron for sharing your easy Back to School tips for parents!