The first few weeks of the new school year are always the hardest for our little bundles of joy. Get super prepared and make it easier with this ultimate guide on ‘back to school’ organisation!
It’s a school night!
It’s always a good idea to start your kids on the school sleep/wake schedule a few days ahead of term starting. Set alarms for wake up and bedtimes to get everyone back in the rhythm. Your kids may not quite thank you for it at the time, but trust us – it will be worth it to make mornings easier for everyone when school starts.
And of course, when the kids are back at school, keeping to the routine and having early nights whenever possible makes life a lot easier for the entire family.
Keep your kids reading over the school holidays, especially just before school starts. This will keep their minds active so they’re prepared for those first few weeks of term. The books they read don’t have to be educational, but you totally get bonus points if they are.
A good strong bag is essential, especially for the older kids. Make sure you get good quality backpacks, as flimsy zips are not fun. Find out ahead of time what functionalities they’ll need. Do your kids need multiple compartments or one central compartment? Will they be carrying laptops that need padding? What about insulation for lunchboxes, or wet and dry areas to keep wet or smelly gear separate? If you’re not sure, don’t fret – just give the school a call, or ask another parent who has kids that have been there, done that.
When the kids are back at school, get them into the rhythm of unpacking their bags as soon as they get home. Get them to empty lunchboxes, drink bottles and any other stray containers. No one likes finding a nasty mouldy sandwich weeks later! This will also mean in the mornings you’re simply packing rather than clearing out and washing up too!
Bulk-buy school snacks
Whether it’s you packing your kids lunches or the kids packing their own, it’s much easier if you’ve got a selection of easy-to-grab school snacks on hand, with plenty of variety. The best way to do this is to buy in bulk. Stockpile your school snacks like they’re going out of fashion, and make sure there’s a whole collection to choose from. Get a bunch of small and large containers, buy plenty of dried fruit, muesli bars and other healthy snacks with longer expiration dates, and pop them somewhere that they’re easily accessible.
You can also buy little yogurt tubs or tubes in bulk and freeze them. They’re great chilled in kids’ lunch boxes, as they keep things cold and are really nice to eat frozen! You can also freeze the kids’ water bottles each night so they stay cool during the day and help keep everything else cold.
Having all the school snacks ready to go will make it so much easier on school mornings. It will also make weekly shopping easier – all you’ll need to get later is the fruit for the kids’ ‘fruit snacks’ and anything else perishable. Try and get in a habit of cutting up the fruit for the school snack before the morning rush too.
As we all know, the key to waking up well is to get to bed on time! Meal planning in advance is key and will make everything so much easier before bedtime. So you and the kids can relax. In fact, while you’re at it, you can prep easy breakfasts in advance too. Pop some natural or Greek yogurt into tubs with muesli, nuts and fruit and leave them in the fridge for mornings where you’re running a little behind!
Ask the kids a week in advance what they want to eat. What are their friends having? Just like planning dinners and breakfasts, plan their school lunches in advance.
Nude lunches are a thing now, so the less packaging the better. Try using the lunchboxes with all the compartments. This is where buying bulk school snacks make life easier – having a wide selection of snacks on hand means they’re ready to pop into containers!
Bribes might be required the first few weeks back… if so, 50c treats at the tuck shop could go a long way – or a little ‘naughty’ snack to ease the pain of the first few weeks back.
Reduce stress in the morning:
Keep things calm and happy in the morning by playing music while you are getting ready. If you have little kids, have their uniforms on a nearby chair or hanger so they can get dressed quicker and don’t have to scramble around to find anything. Some parents also use the music as a tool to encourage kids to get ready quicker – like “I wonder if you can get dressed before the end of the song.” You can also use music to make showers shorter – if you kids know they should be outdone when the second or third song starts they’ll get used to getting ready quicker!
Make homework fun
Ah, the dreaded homework! But it doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are some ideas to make homework a little more fun for your kids!
- Create a cool ‘homework zone’ – a dedicated area for study that’s away from distractions.
- Make sure the space for homework is consistent and promotes study. This not only helps kids get focused when they need to, but it also helps them switch off after the study is done.
- Add some pot plants or greenery and other ‘good vibe’ decorations to the homework zone. Make it a nice place to be.
- Make sure the space is clean, clear and decluttered.
- Turn off the TV and electronic devices during homework time. Less distractions = faster progress.
- Set a homework time for each day.
- Track homework due dates and assignments in the family calendar. No one likes to be surprised with an unexpected due date!
- Homework is so much more fun if there’s a reward at the end of it! Bribe your kids with bike rides, playing music or some other small treat afterwards – particularly after they finish up on a subject they find more challenging than others!
After school chill out time
Downtime is important, and in those first few weeks it will help to keep those exhausted littlies’ emotions stable. When the kids get home from school, make sure they have time to relax and chill.
Activities like colouring in, reading, yoga, fun role play games or listening to gentle music will all help them clear their minds and relax. Reducing stimulation like turning lights down low, and playing music softly will help them wind down after a big day.
Arrange playdates with 2-3 of your kid’s friends to rebuild social ties from the previous school year. It’s a good idea to do this before school goes back or in the first few weeks of term. Otherwise, you can also encourage the little kids to share home phone numbers with their friends – this gives them a little independence.
If your older kids have been busy on devices for the holiday break, wean them off before school goes back, as they can be a distraction from learning and socializing.
They grow so quick over the break! Two weeks before school goes back, measure your kids up and get to the uniform shop if they need new uniforms. (P.s don’t forget to write their names on them)!
Get your ‘organisation’ on!
Embrace your inner organization nerd and get yourself and your family sorted! Here’s a few extra tips for inspiration:
- Order your school supplies even earlier, with no fuss – you can order your school books and labels online now, and there are plenty of great sites to do so!
- Plan ahead – be aware of what homework your kids have on, and help them to plan their timelines to get it done on time.
- Buy a big calendar for the school schedule with all your kids’ activities and lay it out for all to see. Bonus points if you add in free dress days, excursions and other key dates.
- Create an inbox for kids to leave things that need your attention, like permission slips. Gone will be the days of unsigned forms!
- Get your kids into the habit of laying out their school clothes the night before.
- Have a designated area for school backpacks, school shoes and other school essentials. This will make mornings so much easier!
- Leave enough time with the ‘back to school shopping’ to let the kids help pick their own items once you know what functionalities they need. They’ll love having an input into their backpack, drink bottles, book covers, bag accessories etc.
We hope these tips help make life easier for you and your kids this year!
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