Anyone who has ever put a child in school will know that there is so much to remember that it can make your head spin. For example, last weekend I labelled shoes, 37 items of clothing, 7 lunch boxes and a variety of other smaller items. Your child will have a Bag, a Lunch Box or Bag, quite often a Book Bag, a PE Kit and Bag as well as maybe other things to take in with them too. It’s a lot of work for one person (a single parent like me) to handle, and there are time saving ways of doing things and ways to make it easier on yourself too. Let’s see what ideas I have below and what I have done during these last two weeks in preparation for school starting up again.
Yearly Wall Planner and / or Yearly Diary
Get a year long wall planner and some little round stickers to keep track of everything, make a key at one side and then add any appointments, school trips, swimming days, special dates (like those where additional things are required like dressing up or concerts) and keep updating it every time you know a knew agenda item. This is useful as well for the non-school days and other important reminders too such as Dentist, Doctors or Opticians for example. I think I would be lost without my wall planner.
A weekly planner is also something that I have on my dining room table, it’s so that on a weekend I can prepare for the week ahead, read up on any paperwork sent home from school on a Friday and let my child know what is expected of them for that upcoming week. It could be school photo week or they are expected to bring an item in for show and tell, but we will know not to forget because of the planner. I can also arrange this planner in a way that has both adult and child organised, as well as meal planning if I have items to be used on a certain evening. A useful item and much better than a phone calendar you may forget to look at, but if you sit down to eat as we do together as a family, the planner is there for you to go through so everyone knows what is what and where and when.
Labelling – It is so Important!
Label all of your children’s items for school including their lunch boxes, clothing, bags and shoes. There is nothing worse than them going to school and losing something, and because it’s not labelled it’s unlikely to be returned to you. Schools tend to have lost property boxes that are checked at the end of every day or the end of the week and the items appropriately returned, but this cannot be done without labels. I used a permanent laundry pen to write on my sons clothing labels, and I used stickers for the more solid items. Consider using their full names or even getting their own personalised stickers printed as I have done. Especially if your child has a popular first name.
Use the halved sticker hack for getting your children to put their shoes on themselves and to ensure that everyone knows which shoe is who’s. The sticker inside hack allows them to put their shoes on the correct feet every time and it’s genius. Simply cut a large sticker in half and place either side of it into the shoes. When the shoes are correct the sticker will match and the child will know that they have the shoes the correct way to go on their feet. See my photo below for inspiration.
Clothes Piles per School Day
Fold up any school clothing into “day piles” in their bedroom on a weekend ready for the school week ahead. This hack of mine is so useful, I did it over the summer too with day clothes as I was getting my son to practice getting dressed by himself. It’s so that I don’t have to police every single item of clothing going on every morning. My son has pants with the days of the week on them, and because that’s the item he will put on first he then has a pile beneath that. So you start with a pair of pants with his daily school uniform laying under it. Pants, Socks and Trousers, then his Polo Shirt last and his jumper is always downstairs and the last item to go on (to save any breakfast getting on it). It’s also so much easier on a Sunday to just make these piles up and put them in the correct bedrooms ready for the week. If you have to wash midweek, even doing two piles of clothing is better than searching drawers first thing on a Monday morning for that missing sock.
Save On Washing – Remove at the Front Door
This is always a good one! Take off their school jumpers and any “still clean” uniform pieces as soon as you get home through the door before they have time to get messy and creased. Hang the jumpers up especially on hangers close to the front door ready for the next morning. This helps save on the clothes washing and the ironing by hanging them up safely as soon as they take them off. And it’s always a good idea that a school jumper be the last item to go on in a morning routine anyway, after breakfast and teeth brushing so that it stays cleaner for longer.
Something else you can do to save on washing is always wash with full loads, if that means you get to Thursday and it isn’t full yet then why not consider wearing those similar colours yourself so as to fill up the load space.
Mini Cool Blocks
Investing in some mini cool blocks so that the children’s lunch food stays fresh is important during the warmer months of the year. I place a block under a removable plastic section of his large Sistema lunch box, or I place it at the bottom of the small cool bag I send with him. It’s important if he’s wanting chicken for his lunch which should be maintained at a low temperature to prevent it going off.
These are great for adult lunches and days out throughout the year too.
Practice Makes Perfect and Less Stressed Children
Practice the opening and closing of lunch boxes, bags with zips and coats too. We are getting to that time of the year where bags need to be closed from the weather and our coats need to be zipped up. During the summer holiday we might not have used those items very much so it’s good to refresh your children’s memories by having them practice doing these things again.
Lunch boxes are another one, as they might have a new one this term and you’ll need to make sure they can safely open and close it in order to get at their food or snacks. It’s important that your children drinks enough water while they are at school too, so get them a reusable water bottle that they really like and will continue using throughout the day.
Thank you for reading this blog post today I really hope that you’ve liked it and found at least one of my ideas to be useful. By getting yourself and your family into good habits like these early on, it will make sure you have more time and energy to deal with anything else that happens. Because life nearly always throws you a curve ball when you just about have everything under control am I right?
I hope I see you again for another of my parenting articles, I hope you have a lovely month of September with (I also hope) minimal stresses.
✩ Sabrina ✩