Today’s post answers a back to school reader question. You can read previous answers to readers’ questions here.
What activities do you do at the end of the school year with school stuff so you’re prepped for the next year?
To be honest, I don’t do much at all in December in terms of preparing for the new school year. With Christmas and end of year celebrations, I find I just can’t get my head around it. Once Christmas and New Year has passed however, I do start easing my way into things so we can have a calm back to school period. I aim to have these tasks completed by mid January.
There are of course other tasks I do closer to the date, like covering books, labelling etc once the book orders arrive but these are tasks I delegate to the kids. I do help the kids as needed with these tasks, but they work together very well to get them done. Last year the two older boys paid their sister to contact their books!
1. Wash school bags and hats
I take advantage of the warmer weather and give the kids’ bags a thorough wash and hang them on the line to dry. The older boys bags in particular get quite a smell to them!
The younger boys hats can be washed in the washing machine, but the older kids who are required to wear a hat as part of their uniform cannot. A more careful handwash of these hats is required and drying them flat.
2. Audit and mend uniforms
Inevitably we have lost the battle with the sock monster who eats socks at our house and at the very minimum I will need to buy more socks! But I will do a full audit of summer uniforms to make sure all kids have enough of everything and check if anything needs mending.
I find shopping earlier in January for needed items and going first thing in the morning helps miss the crowds at the uniform shops, that are always there at the end of January. Due the rate of growth of kids, I don’t worry about their winter uniform at all at this stage.
3. Buy new school shoes and runners
We have already bought new school shoes and runners for the kids. There are many great sales on at the moment to take advantage of and purchase these mandatory items for much cheaper. The beauty of buying them now is that when we have home days, I get the younger kids to put on their school socks and shoes and wear them for an hour or two.
This does help wear them in, but for our youngest it is more of a psychological thing! He really dislikes the feel of stiff new shoes and by wearing them a number of times before school starts helps to reduce the shock to his feet when he goes back to school after a summer of largely bare feet.
4. Lunch boxes, wraps, drink bottle and container wash and audit
With the youngest three we have a waste free approach to lunch boxes and use containers and reusable wraps. While I obviously was them regularly through out the year, I make sure to check them all and give them a thorough wash up.
Like the socks, we do inevitably lose some containers over the year so I will order any new items we might need.
5. Enter available dates into calendar
The last newsletter from the schools always have some key dates for the first few weeks of school, so I will add them to my calendar and book any tickets required for the start of the year social events.
6. Stationery stock up
We skip the stationery section on the kids’ book orders and purchase our own, so this time of year always sees us with a trip to Officeworks. It is also the perfect time to stock up on home stationery supplies with the sales on back to school items.
7. Update children information sheet
I picked this tip up from another mother at school, so props to Danielle for sharing it with me. There are a series of forms that have to be filled in at the start year for the children, for example the Neighbourhood Excursion form which gives the school permission to take the kids on a walk around the block etc. The forms all require particular details to be filled in, like last Tetanus injection, Medicare number, Doctor’s Name and Details etc.
Having this info all in one spot is much superior to my previous method. I used to have to find the kids Maternal and Child Health Books and find all the relevant cards etc to complete the forms. I now have the form on a notice board and just grab it when a form comes in and can complete it quickly. You can download an editable word template here or download a version from Google Docs here (it looks like the photo above).
8. Declutter the kids’ rooms
it is always much easier for the kids to keep their rooms tidier if there is less stuff in them! We have moved kids around and have new room set ups and as part of this process we have decluttered lots of stuff. When faced with the choice of having to find a good home for items or getting rid of it, it is amazing how happy the kids are to part with so much of the little stuff they have collected over the months.
9. Transport arrangements
The youngest and I still walk to school. The 10 year old rides his bike and the older two take public transport. I will make sure the bike is in working order and check the helmet is also fine. This year no one has to learn public transport routes, but in previous summer holidays I have spent time on public transport showing a child the route they will need to take to go to school.