Do you have kid/s off to school for the first time this year and you wonder how you are going to get everyone out of the door on time?
With a number of small ones at home, it can be tricky business making sure you leave the house not just on time, but calmly and making sure everyone has everything they need for their day.
Over my 19 years of parenting I have learnt a lot. All of my kids are now in school with our eldest being at second year uni 2018. The kids all get themselves ready for school and while there is still the odd morning that has an emotional outburst from someone, our mornings are usually calm and the youngest child and I take the dog for our walk to school in good spirits.
But this doesn’t happen without some solid work behind the scenes. Here are
1. Establish a night time routine
Organised school mornings start for me the night before, so here are some ideas on what you can do before you go to bed, to make life easier in the morning.
2. Establish routines for the kids
For the most part you will know by now what after school activities the kids have and have a rough idea of their timetable details for their school day, so you can create a visual timetable for each child. If you want to create your own, you can see my post on Children’s Routines here.
3. Create a children’s 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. On top of these I have already had two additional forms, one for a camp and one for an excursion to complete that also need those pieces of information and forms like that come home frequently through out the school year.
I used to have to find the kids Maternal and Child Health Books and find all the relevant cards etc to complete the forms, until I made up a table with each child’s information in it, which you see above. I keep it in my school paper work file and I 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 .
4. Find a home for all the school gear
In this post Getting The School Gear Organised I share some ideas on how to store the kids school gear, so they can be responsible for keeping things in their place and know where to find them. It is so much easier for the kids to find what they need and put it away if it has a designated home.
5. Audit and mend uniforms
Inevitably we will have lost the battle with the sock monster over the previous school year 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.
6. Buy new school shoes and runners
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.
7. 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. If you need to buy new lunch box items you can see my review of lunch box items here.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Declutter the kids’ rooms
It is always much easier for the kids to keep their rooms tidier if there is less stuff in them! After an influx of gifts over Christmas it is probably the perfect time to give the kids’ rooms a declutter. 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.
11. Transport arrangements
The youngest and I still walk to school. The 11 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.