Summer may just be starting, but before you know it, August will be here, and everyone is getting ready to go back to school. But, unfortunately, back to school means making sure your children have the books and school supplies they need and a mountain of other things.
Preparing for back to school needn’t be a last-minute rush. Instead, you can use the time off over the summer to help yourself get organized and ready for the fall term. Because once those school bells start ringing, so do the alarm bells, along with the daily chaos getting back into the school routine can bring along.
This doesn’t just get the children; you need to make sure you are organized for the new school year. Be it a takeout coffee cup for when you rush out of the door on your way to work, an umbrella for waiting at bus stops or running in from the car in the rain, a new academic diary or calendar app to note important dates, times, appointments, etc. Check your own wardrobe too to make sure you are suitably prepared for the start of school with new coats for when the weather changes, ankle boots to keep your feet warm for watching sports and attending school events or just having coffee with other school mums!
Adjust Your Schedule Slowly
The move to get back into those early school mornings can be a shock to the system for everyone. But especially teenagers who are more likely to take advantage of late nights and early mornings. So instead of expecting a smooth transition on the first morning of a new school year, create a schedule that allows you to adjust your schedule gradually.
Start a few beforehand, implementing slightly earlier evening meals and bedtime routines. Then, compare your current schedule against school timings and set up your family for an easier transition from holidays to back to school this fall.
You may find that you need to readjust snack times and accommodate earlier meal times throughout the day. Also, try setting the alarm in the mornings to encourage early rising so you can avoid losing most of your remaining time off to rushing around in the evening.
If you have smart devices in the home such as an Alexa set up, then this can be helpful for setting alerts for mornings, bedtimes, mealtimes, etc.
Plan Your Shopping
You need to buy a lot of supplies for back to school. Even more, so if you have more than one child. Not only can the cost of this add up, but the time it takes to source everything can really eat into your day, or even week if you’re not careful!
Start by writing a list of every single thing you need. Then, refer back to any communication you may have from the school and check when you buy; you are getting the right quantities. Start early for school supplies such as books, backpacks, lunch, and drink accessories, as this can be sourced and put away.
Next, check off any specialist equipment you may need for sports, technology, and so on. When it comes to clothing, it makes sense you want to avoid any last-minute growth spurts; however, leaving it until the last minute can mean some items may not be available, especially if your school has a strict dress code.
Before you tackle the issue of new school outfits, it is good to use this time to have a clear out of what your child currently has. Then, get them to try everything on and then repurpose anything that doesn’t fit. Once you have an inventory of all your child’s clothes, you can make a list of everything you need to buy ready for the start of term.
Head to the shops a few weeks before to check for sizing, and then you can shop online for any additional items once you are confident you have the right sizes and are school-appropriate.
Teens can often be left alone to do their own back-to-school shopping meaning this is one less task you need to do. Then all that is left is for you to make sure the clothes are organized in their wardrobes, ready for when they need them.
School entry may necessitate documentation ranging from immunization records to previous school year report cards. In addition, athletes must provide proof of a medical examination. A little planning ahead of time can save you from frantic last-minute searches for a birth certificate or registration confirmation.
Call your child’s school or check the school district’s website ahead of time to find out what paperwork is needed—and then find it!
It may be a good idea to set up a school station to allow you to keep documents or equipment for schools in one place. This way, you can file all the correct paperwork for each child or school for easy access when you need them.
Make sure you organize all of the paperwork for each child individually along with any specific dates or times you need to know, such as school bus pick up and drop off, extracurricular activities, registration forms, permission slips. Through the course of the year having a go-to spot for all of your paperwork can help you stay organized and reduce the likelihood of something going missing.
School Day System
Do you like to be organized, or is school morning somewhat of a chaotic mess in your house? If so, now is the ideal time to implement a system to help you cut through the chaos and help bring some organization into our school mornings.
In reality, it means getting yourself prepared the night before. Prepare lunches or get the kids to help you prepare their lunch before bed. Make sure you have located clothes, shoes, school bags, homework, etc. and have them put together for easy access, be it in the kid’s bedroom, kitchen, or elsewhere. Designate a station for all school work etc., to be left and run a check before bedtime to make sure everyone has all they need for the next day, and an outfit plus shoes are chosen.
Take it one step further by getting breakfast utensils out and boxes of cereal etc., so there is less to find in the morning. Of course, this does mean you need to put the effort in at the end of the day. However, it can be a huge benefit of a morning when everything is organized. Practice over the holidays to see how well it works and what type of system helps you out the most. Because if it doesn’t work, chances are it will make your mornings harder than they need to be.
Practice Runs Are Vital
How will the kids get to school? The first day of school is not the time to discover that it takes ten minutes, rather than five, to walk to the nearest bus stop! So make a practice run to get children to school on time before the school year. This is especially important if your child is starting a new school.
If they intend to walk, assist them in learning the route they will take and making a note of the time required. Is it possible to carpool? Ensure the dry run takes into account early-morning traffic and, if possible, rope in other mums too, so they know how you are planning to work and when everyone needs to be ready for it.
Bus riders must be familiar with the bus stop location and would benefit from being able to print and post the bus schedule to avoid missing a bus. The last thing you need is to make a detour to the school in rush hour traffic on the first day!
The adjustment period from school holidays to getting back into the swing of things, especially after the events of 2020 and 2021, can take a few days to iron out any creases and find a routine that works for you.
Many people find it helpful to adjust their lives to accommodate any changes to routines, such as cleaning schedules, meal times and meal prep, etc. While for some, this isn’t feasible around work commitments, this happens naturally as they navigate a new school term.
The important thing to remember is that this will be a big change for everyone. After all, the summer holidays allow for lazy days and late mornings along with even later nights for some. While you don’t want to restrict your child to an unrealistic schedule for the whole holiday, any small change can have a domino effect on other areas of your life.
Try to make any changes small and gradual, so it isn’t a big jolt to the holidays, and the preschool prep doesn’t interfere too much with the last of their time off. After all, kids want to have fun, and denying them this in their school holidays isn’t something most parents want to do!