Whether you’re here to take on primary, secondary, sixth form or college, we’re here to help you do it like a pro! The back to school frenzy can be exciting yet overwhelming for parents as well as children; but with our handy organisation tips you’ll both be cool, calm and collected when that early alarm sounds and the school run begins.
1. BEFORE SCHOOL "SPRING" CLEAN
Check that everything they need is still in working order before you send them on their way. Do their PE plimsolls still fit? Are their socks looking a little worn out? Does their backpack have a working zip? Spend a day with their favourite music playing, trying on all the things they’ll need for school and organising them into ‘keep’, ‘charity’ or ‘throw’ boxes.
2. SPARE PARTS IN THE CAR
Older kids are always forgetting their PE kit, calculator, compass and other essentials. Investing in two of these when you do your essential shopping could come in handy – just keep a bag of spares in the car so that when their lightbulb moment hits and they remember what they’ve forgotten just as you reach the school gate, you’ll be ready to save the day.
3. WORK FROM HOME SET UP
Once the children go back to school, they’ll need to join you in the working from home zone – so why not create their own space for them to do their homework? If they don’t already have a desk in their room, it might be time to invest in one. Or, simply designate an existing table in the house as the homework spot so they know where to get the work done. Cleverly organise the space with labelled pots for whatever tools they need, make sure it’s well-lit and leave little notes of encouragement to make it a positive space.
4. ESSENTIALS BY THE EXIT
Keep all school coats, shoes, clean socks and any other last-minute essentials by the door so you’re not running around the house trying to find the other shoe when you really should be leaving. If your children have homework to do, make a habit of hanging their backpack up by the door before they go to bed so that’s ready to go in the morning too.
5. DIGITAL & REAL-LIFE CALENDARS
Back to school also means back to sports clubs, after school activities, play dates and other events that will need to be carefully scheduled. Add them to your phone with a family calendar app that everyone can access where necessary, but also have them on display on a whiteboard or chalk calendar for a daily visual reminder of what’s going on that week so there can be no room for double bookings or missed activities.
6. MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK
Save yourself time, money and energy by planning your family meals each week on Sunday. This way, you can get home and start cooking without worrying about ingredients you may or may not have and resorting to a takeaway. It also ensures you have a quick comeback and game plan when the inevitable ‘muuuuum, what’s for dinner?’ starts ringing in your ear from 4pm.
7. GET SMART AT HOME
A smart device can be a great investment for teaching toddlers morning routines. You can set alarms, reminders for brushing teeth, getting dressed and more. They can even ask what the weather will be like today if they’re struggling to decide between their wellies or sandals.
8. NIGHT-TIME UNIFORM PREP
Get all the kids clothes ironed and laid out for them the night before, so they can get up in the morning and dress themselves without a fuss. Ironing shirts can be especially time consuming if you have multiple children to get ready – as they get older, they can be encouraged to do the ironing themselves. My mother would always lay our uniforms on the banister outside our bedrooms, so we would wake up, get washed and grab them on our way back from the bathroom.
9. PARENTS' POST STATION
Permission slips, sign-up sheets, school newsletters – they will all be coming your way! Have a drawer, folder or filing system at the ready so you and your children know where to put it as soon as they arrive home. Get in the habit of checking this daily so things don’t get forgotten or lost under other assignments.
10. STOCK UP ON SUPPLIES
Toddlers may get assignments from nursery or infant school too – and creative ones at that! You may need to stock up on glue, stickers, paint, pom poms, and anything else that’s crafty and could come in handy when it’s time for them to create a family portrait or Christmas card.
11. AFTER SCHOOL SNACK ATTACK
It’s no surprise kids are hungry after using all that brain power and running wild in the playground. Be prepared to ace the after school snack system with these healthy kids’ snack upgrades by @my.little.food.critic and these simple and healthy after school snacks. If you aren’t likely to have time to whip up something fresh, keep an accessible cupboard full of snack bars and other goodies for them to easily grab when they get peckish – just be sure to enforce a limit on how much they have before dinner!
12. BE THE BEDTIME ROUTINE BOSS
A good night’s sleep can make all the difference to those early mornings and classes. Children should be well rested so they can be ready to take on the day without having a cheeky snooze in science. From toddlers to teenagers, they may benefit from a ‘bedtime board’, showing them what they need to do step-by-step: 1 – brush teeth, 2 – pyjamas, 3 – go toilet, 4 – last drink of water, 5 – backpack ready, 6 – reading, 7 – lights out. You should include time frames where possible.
13. CREATE A LUNCHBOX SPOT
If you have enough space in the fridge, either use and existing tray or add a separate box to fill with all your usual lunchbox essentials so you’re not spending time moving things around and forgetting to add something to their lunch. Pre-portion any fruit or veg in little bags so you can grab-and-go, and keep any spreads, meats and other sandwich fillings in there for quick and easy prep.