Simplify Back to School: 5 Ways to Prepare for the New School Year

Get organised and embrace new routines by following this simple back-to-school guide.

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First things first, let’s debunk the myth that you have more time when you send your child off to school. Whoever thought that was a story worth telling was, shall we say, a little on the unrealistic side. Perhaps it’s mildly true in the later years of primary school but in my experience, the school day is a short one. You haven’t so much as dropped your little one at the school gate, grabbed a coffee, put on a load of laundry when you realise that it’s pickup time!

Essentially your Monday to Friday is now dictated by the bell. The key to maintaining a semblance of calm and organisation to your week is simple: establish everyday routines that are good for you and your family.

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1. Get up early. Yes, I know, you might have to set your alarm. But, even twenty minutes of alone time before the kids wake up will ensure that you can tick a few things off your list without having to answer questions or quell arguments. If business gurus the world over are correct, the first hour of your day is usually your most productive and if that means getting a few importance jobs out of the way your day promises to be smooth sailing. 

2. Write it down. The notes and permission slips and in-class activities that require your attention can, in a very short period of time, become overwhelming. My advice? Write it all down and highlight, highlight, highlight. A personal diary and a family calendar come highly recommended but if you would rather track of everything on your phone, consider one of the plethora of time management apps out there. I’ve heard good things about Cozi. Even if you think you’re on top of everything it’s better to be safe than sorry and save your child from turning up at school in uniform on mufti day (not that I’m speaking from experience…).

3. Do the ground work the night before. This means being diligent with lunchboxes and uniforms and getting them ready before you go to bed. Granted, self-discipline is required (because yes, all you want to do is crash out on the couch at that time of night) but you’ll rest easy knowing that everything is ready for the next day. Mornings can easily turn into rushed screaming matches (usually because there’s a shoe missing) and honestly, the only prevention is preparation.

4. Keep your afternoons free. There’s a lot to be said for afternoons with no plans and in my opinion, they’re the key to a smooth transition back into the school routine. I swear by afternoons at home, early dinners and early to bed – for everyone’s sake. If you’ve got a little one starting Kindergarten I always advise parents to take at least six months off extra-curricular activities. The rigidness of school and the demands on their little minds result in serious exhaustion for the first few terms. By the end of the day all they want to do is retreat to the comfort of home, eat and play.

5. Do some preparation on a Sunday evening. “But Sunday is rest and relax day,” I hear you plead. True, it is, but twenty minutes of prep on a Sunday evening results in a very contented mindset, trust me. Make sure clean uniforms are ready and waiting (or put them in the washing machine), find the library books that are due back on Tuesday, sign any notes that need to be return, wash the lunchboxes and drink bottles that may be hiding in the school back. If you use your Sunday well, it will set you up for the school week nicely.

How do you keep on top of school life?

More advice for smooth sailing back to to school:

Images: Jodi Wilson