12 Tips For a Better School Year

Nothing is quite as thrilling – or challenging – as the beginning of a new school year. While your kids might be worried or excited about new friends and new teachers, mums end up stuck with the tasks of keeping organised, creating solid routines and supporting children to be their best.

Here are Kidspot’s back-to-school tips on everything from morning strategies, homework helpers, lunch box solutions and easy organisation tips that will end up moving mum to the head of the class.

1. Keep lunch boxes easy (for parents)

While we all want to love and nurture our children by packing the best and most exciting lunchbox possible, we also need to balance our aspirations against reality. Making sure morning routines are achievable and easy is the key to a successful lunchbox, not the fanciness of your pinwheel sandwiches. It takes some time to find the right snack ideas the kids will love and you will find easy to prepare while there are other priorities to attend to.

Click here for lunchbox nutrition and inspiration

2. Create a laundry routine that works

Washing. Oh so much laundry, washing and ironing to do. School brings new laundry management routines to stop dirty clothes baskets exploding before you get the chance to wash all those stained uniforms and dirty socks.

Conquer the laundry pile in three easy steps

3. Make mornings organised

Trying to get out of the door on time when a school bell or work commitments beckon makes for a stressful time before 9am. Clever mums know that a morning routine that works is the key to starting the day happy, prepared and ready to leave the house with a smile.

4. House work during term time should be eased

A busy school year means less time washing the floors and tidying so you can spend time where it really counts. That might mean making extra minutes for homework help, reading the reader or sorting out the sports gear.

Share the housework load around everyone in the home with our 36 easy chores that kids can tackle.

5. Keep time

Whether you’re trying to speed your kids up (to get them out the door, say) or slow them down (as they practice reading), clocks become a useful device once the kids reach school age. Explaining time, routines and showing the children how to read the time for themselves will give your kids the power to keep themselves organised (without nagging from you).

6. Ready, set breakfast

A healthy nutritious breakfast not only puts kids in the right mood for learning, but blesses mothers with a righteous feeling of success that they managed to have their children eat well at the right time of day. Kids as young as 4 or 5 can get a bowl of cold cereal for themselves, and as they get older they can learn to safely use the toaster or microwave.

Try these breakfast ideas for quick, healthy starts to the school day: Breakfast ideas

7. Problems are a learning experience

Term time at school isn’t always perfect and our children don’t always behave like angels or the genius we had hoped they would be. School rules, expectations and social pressures can be too much for our kids and it’s not uncommon for problems to rear their head once children settle in to the school year. It can be anything from bullies to learning problems to physical problems that come up and unsettle us – be ready to embrace them!

Find out more about difficulties at school

8. You are the best teacher

Learning always starts at home and your child’s mood affects how well he learns. A positive outlook is the best thing you can inspire in your children to keep them performing well at school and willing to tackle their homework.

Tips and techniques for better learning

9. Labels, names and ownership

Label all your child’s belongings including the library bag and especially the school hat. Encourage your child to dress themselves so they can manage things like taking jumpers or coats on and off at school. Explain the concept of “lost property” to your kids, so they know how to find lost items on their own. Then cross your fingers and hope they have listened to you!

10. Rules and behaviour

Schools have a range of approaches to reinforce the good behaviour measures taught by parents – so learn what they are and make sure you can back them up at home! For students in the early years the focus will be on learning to work cooperatively with others and to follow instructions from the teacher. It’s a mother’s job to remind and reinforce the school rules at home so kids understand why certain actions are unacceptable.

11. Keep your head around lice

Head lice and nits are a fact of school life, and you will be lucky if you manage to avoid them. If an outbreak of head lice does occur at school it can be annoying but not harmful to your child’s health. However to avoid an outbreak across a class of students, schools will request parents to remove and treat children with evidence of head lice.

Try these tips to banish and control head lice

12. Remember the night before

Murphy’s law states that if something can go wrong, it will. Avoid the stresses of the first morning of school by laying out clothes (including underwear, socks and shoes) the night before. Have a bottle of sunscreen nearby to apply in the morning. Pack the school bag and for little kids include a spare pair of underpants and socks in a plastic bag in case of any toilet accidents. Ensure your camera is ready to take first day of school photos.

Share your back to school tips in the comments below.

See more:

This story was written by Alex Brooks for Kidspot Australia and is published here with permission.

10 Comments

  1. Alezandra 03/03/2019 at 10:27 pm

    This is a such a good list and each to-do gives you even more tips to make it easier. Although I don’t have a school age kid yet, I have a 4 year old now and reading this is giving me the tools for when we start or before we even start school. I am especially reminded by number 8 that we as parents are the best teachers and role models for our kids and it starts at home.

  2. felicity beets 02/03/2019 at 7:58 pm

    Will definitely need to prepare as much I can the night before, before kindergarten starts – not looking forward to the early starts.

  3. kymmage 01/03/2019 at 6:03 am

    My best tip would be to get a good strong relationship going with the teacher as quickly as possible. Share your email address or mobile. Make sure you are on the same page re what your kid needs. Share stories of their successes at home. And make sure you’re a unit, including your own partner. He or she is just as capable of helping your child through stuff, but you need that supportive unit.

  4. MuddledUpMolly 27/02/2019 at 3:50 pm

    As a mum and teacher myself, all of these tips we have incorporated into our daily life as it is so vital for my own sanity! Organisation is definitely the key to managing it all and I would encourage everyone to do as many of these tips as possible 🙂

  5. dawnblyth 27/02/2019 at 11:03 am

    My big thing I am working on this year is getting up early enough to get organised. Our other thing this year is biking to school. Good for the mind and body

  6. SarahBlair 26/02/2019 at 5:09 pm

    Mornings can be crazy! I always make sure that I have the kids clothes ready the night before so that they can eat breakfast then get dressed while I make their lunch, everything usually goes smoothly as long as we keep calm and everybody cooperates

  7. Shorrty4life1 13/02/2019 at 12:41 pm

    I’m loving the littterless lunch box ideas. Some great ideas in there. I tend to do all my laundry the night before. Then I don’t have to worry the next morning. I also do homework soon as they get home from school then the can relax. Breakfast is a must as soon as we wake and while I’m doing breakfast they get dressed. I pack lunches the night before and put bags in the car ready for the next morning. And I make sure uniforms are out on top of draws for the morning the night before.

  8. Jen_Wiig 13/02/2019 at 12:38 pm

    My best tip probably would be make a “training week” so for us a week before school was due back we were back into school routine… Earlier bedtimes, i made the 3 boys lunches like i would normally for school and made sure their uniforms and the spares were ready for action.
    I went ahead and got the stationary and new lunchboxes as well.
    So come first day back we were better prepped and wasnt such a shock to the system and eased into it.
    For the first time ever in my boys schooling years ive started doing lunches in the evening and why i hadnt done it sooner ill never know but so so glad i have now

  9. Bevik1971 06/02/2019 at 3:47 pm

    I had my first total hip replacement on the 24th of Jan so it has thrown our school routine out the window a wee bit. I am the driver and unable to drive for 6 weeks so 6 year old and Dad walking to and from school everyday for a while. We try to ensure we get things as sorted as possible the night before and in the mornings I’ll try and keep our daughter on track with hair and clothing etc while Dad does the rest 🙂

  10. Mands1980 06/02/2019 at 10:07 am

    These are great ideas I alway struggle with lunch’s so having more ideas is helpful. I name all the kids clothing with iron on labels. I am pretty organised with washing I can’t stand having it lying round it’s washed and on the line then folded straight away. We gets all there clothing ready the night before as well so it’s so much easier in the mornings.

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