The summer holidays are a time to relax and routines tend to go out the window. The beginning of Term One can be stressful, but this back to school checklist for the busy parent will help you ensure that your children’s return to school is as stress-free as possible.
With the sun shining well into the evening, getting children to bed on time just isn’t a priority over the summer holidays. But this can backfire a little when you suddenly try and get your school children back into term-time bedtimes. Starting a few weeks before school goes back, putting your children to bed 10 minutes earlier each day will have them rested and ready to go on Day 1.
Pull out your child’s school uniform or school clothes and sports uniforms (including shoes) and get them to try everything on. Give it all a good inspection to check whether everything still fits. This is a great time to sell items that no longer fit, or pass them on to another family. Replace or repair anything that needs it, and make sure everything is named.
Buying stationery and covering all those books can be a chore, but it’s better to get it done now, rather than waiting until the day before school goes back.
Those bags get thrown off with great abandon on the last day of term, but did you remember to check them for that half-eaten apple or mouldering pair of socks? It’s time to get brave and dig out the school bag and lunch box and give them a good clean. If it’s all looking a little bit too scary – biff it and buy new ones. Pack the stationery into the clean/new bag all ready for Day 1.
Speaking of lunch boxes…this is a great time to start freezing some baking so you’re ahead of the lunch-game in Term 1. Muffins, biscuits, home-made muesli bars and bliss balls can all be frozen and pulled from the freezer and popped straight into a lunch box on a school day.
While you’re on a roll with your baking, look at introducing meal planning to your routine too. Maybe you could even freeze a few meals for those days when everyone is just too tired and you need a quick go-to meal. Getting back into routine can be a killer, but with a little extra preparation, you will be the least-frazzled parent on the block.
Oh, the paperwork
You know that those little munchkins are going to be bringing home copious amounts of newsletters, permission slips and other paper paraphernalia which will be the bane of your existence if you don’t get on top of it from the start. A ring binder with a tab for each child is a simple way to keep your paper trail organised.
Keeping after-school activities, meetings, playdates and statutory holidays to juggle, a family schedule is a must. Record those important phone numbers and dates all in one place so they are easily accessible for everyone to view. Writing up this schedule is also a great time to review the family rules on issues such as homework and weekday screen-time.
You’re organised and this school year is all set to run smoothly. Pour yourself a coffee (or a wine) and relax in the knowledge that you’re all ready.