This post is by regular contributor Kate Fairlie of Picklebums.
Every January for the past three years I have sworn I will be organised well before school starts… and every year I seem to take the whole of first term to find my feet and get my head around what’s needed.
This year needs to be different.
For the first time I will have three separate classrooms and schedules to keep track of as my twins go into different classes for the first time and my middle boy starts school. I need to be on top of things right from the start or I’ll spend the entire year chasing my tail.
So here is what I am going to do to get organised for the start of the school year…
1. Organise Uniforms/School Clothes Early
If you haven’t got shoes and uniforms organised already, then I recommend heading off now! Don’t leave it to the week before school starts and then suddenly find yourself not being able to get an essential piece of clothing in the right colour or size!
2. Label Everything
This year I will label everything right from the start. We have iron on and stick on labels which I like, but a permanent marker works just as well especially for more tricky items like hats and bags, and it’s quick and easy.
3. Get on Top of Lunch and Snack
If you have kids who refuse to eat sandwiches like I do, having a list of food ideas will help immensely. Or you can cheat and download this free, printable lunch and snack idea list. You can also make and pack some foods the night before or even pack up a weeks worth of snacks on Sunday to be really organised.
4. Sort out your Morning Routine
Having a calm morning routine is so helpful when it comes to sending my kids to school happy. So think about everything you need to do in the mornings, and how much time you will need, and add an extra 15 minutes so no one has to rush.
5. Sort out your Evening Routine
I know my kids and I will be tired for the first few weeks of school so settling into a relaxed evening routine will be important. It also helps a lot to do as much of the school prep as you can the night before. So making sure lunches are ready to go, getting out uniform/clothes for the next day and other early prep is essential.
6. Think about After School Activities
Once the kids are in school, the few short hours between coming home and going to bed are precious. Think about how many extra curricula activities your kids can really handle, and how much time they have to simply play and relax.
7. Track their Schedules
I can never remember which day anyone has sport, or when library books need to go to school, and neither can my kids. So working out a way to track and display schedules so both the kids and I can read them is really helpful and will avoid those extra trips back to school for forgotten items.
8. Organise the Paper Work
With three separate classrooms I am envisioning an awful lot of notices and paperwork to keep track off. I don’t think my ‘stick it to the fridge and hope’ plan of the last few years is going to cut it. So I’m working on a way to keep track of the paper work and make sure important dates actually make it to the calendar and return slips make it back to school on time, and I am using my printable 2013 calendar religiously!
9. Buy Spares and Extras
In my experience it is always good to have extras of things that my go missing or run out. An extra roll of book covering in the cupboard for that pre-first day book covering frenzy, and an extra hat in the glove box for those mornings when they get to school and suddenly discover that haven’t got one. Oh and you can never have too many pairs of socks!
10. Stop and Breathe!
The start of the school year can be crazy, and a big change from the lazy days of summer holidays, so make sure you schedule in some time to just hang out with your kids and have some fun!
What is your #1 tip for getting organised for the first day of school?