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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.