Back to School Organisation
We’re talking about the return to school this week – some will be looking forward to it with gleeful anticipation, others with dread! Nothing changes here as my kids are Home Ed and we don’t take long holidays, but I do remember the days of getting ready to get them back to school.
Also, although we don’t have the scramble out of the door for school, I do still need to get my kids up and ready for the day every day. The biggest thing here is that we want to take the stress out of life as much as humanly possible. I may not have to get my kids out of bed for school, but I do like to be out walking the dogs together, having had a calm breakfast by 8am every morning.
Ideally order clothes online and well in advance, as well as stationery.
Set up a good routine. A calm morning starts the night before with laying out clothes and getting packed lunches ready (ideally your children should get in the habit of doing this themselves, with support to begin with, then on their own). A packed lunch station in the kitchen makes it easy for them to help themselves to what they need. Of course, you may still want to run your eyes over what they are taking out (on several occasions, I’ve stopped my son from taking out just half a piece of bread with some honey in it), but anything that means that you have less to do overall is a good thing. Packing their bags up the night before as far as possible is also a useful thing to do.
A peaceful start to the day is important for all involved. My husband and I both get up an hour before the kids to have some peace and quiet and prepare ourselves for the day before the kids get up. I wake my kids up pretty peacefully too – about half an hour before they need to get out of bed, I go into their rooms and open the curtains and turn on the lights. Daylight alarms are an excellent idea in this situation too, especially as the winter mornings draw in – it’s always easier to get up in the light than in the dark. I read to my children over breakfast for several reasons. One, we all enjoy it, two, it stops them arguing and three, it stops them dawdling.
Set up an area where their bags are and where their bags can be returned to every afternoon. When my kids were at school in Australia, I used to have an area in the garage where all their school stuff was kept (it even had a fridge for their lunches!). So that when I sent them all off to get ready, they had everything in one place, including any PE or swimming kit. We put their homework there at the end of each evening too. I had a board on which the days that they needed their kit was written and anything else that was relevant for the day too.
Snack time. If you have tiny children coming home from school, make sure that you meet them with a snack! It’s a long day for the tinies. I know some parents who pretty much give them their evening meal as soon as they are in through the door and then just a snack supper afterwards which is as good an option as any.
Empty those bags every day. Get your children in to the habit of emptying their bags as they come through the door. Letters and papers into a designated tray for you to look through, lunch boxes emptied and wrappers thrown away. PE kit etc straight to the wash. It’s hard when everyone is tired, but worth getting used to doing.
Set up a Homework station so that they can easily get sorted. This can be in their bedrooms if they are older, or at the main table if they are younger. If you don’t have a lot of space, the bags that go over the back of chairs are very useful for this. This then avoids having things spread throughout the home.
Meal plan. Whether your children have school lunches, or you are providing a packed lunch, a meal plan is super helpful. When we cook something like a Bolognese here, we almost always cook 2 or 3 times the amount we need and the rest can go in the freezer for days when everyone is in a rush.
Good luck with the return to school and I hope that this school year is a wonderful one with fewer interruptions!