Is the back to school fear beginning to hit? Uniforms, lunches, homework, clubs and routines – we all know what’s coming, but don’t panic (yet!). Parenting journalist and mum-of-three Kate Gunn from Easy Parenting magazine and Mumsonline.ie shares the tips and tricks she’s picked up over the years, as she gets ready to send her eldest off to secondary school.
I started off my children’s school going years with the highest of expectations. PTA meetings, home baked bread, personalised labels and pencils, pristine white shirts… and then reality hit. With three kids and a job, standards are sure to slip a little! However there are some great organisational tips I’ve learned along the way that make all the difference. Here are a few…
- Create a ‘school lunch’ drawer or cupboard. It saves time and headaches in the morning when you know exactly what you have on offer. Plus, older kids can even put their own lunches together from the supply.
- Go one step further and ‘meal plan’ your school lunches. It takes about 5 minutes each week but saves untold time, energy and stress each morning.
- Use your local book shop or ‘school list’ supplier for back to school book lists. Simply hand in your list and let them call you when they are all ready. No wrong orders, late deliveries, or hours spent online choosing the right Folen’s ‘Am Don Leamh’.
- Keep a secret stash of spare rubbers, pencils and glue sticks at home. You will not believe how many pencils a single child can lose in school. (One a day in case you’re wondering).
- Check your child’s bag for notes from the teacher each day. Many a note has been ‘forgotten’ and found weeks later at the bottom of the school bag beside a crushed sandwich.
- Get used to sending your fruit on holiday. You put the apple lovingly in the lunchbox in the morning, it goes on a trip for a few hours, and then comes back to you in the afternoon, ready for its adventure the next day. Don’t take this personally.
- Buy a big calendar. Or a giant diary. Or a massive whiteboard. From school holiday to school plays, from play dates to date nights - everything goes on it. If it’s not on the family calendar it doesn’t happen.
- Allocate a cupboard, drawer or under-the-bed box for keeping uniforms together. All uniforms go into the washing machine as soon as they come home on a Friday. Tip: Don’t forget to turn it on. Or hang it out for that matter. It’s also always a good idea to have spares of everything - especially for boys (or disorganised parents).
- Labels. If you choose to buy sew in labels then kudos to you, however no other parent will ever judge you for using a biro or magic marker instead. Trust me.
And finally - take a morning off, buy in some posh biscuits and celebrate the fact that you’ve made it through another summer. Well done!
Home really is where the heart is, so get ready to cosy up in your home for the autumn months ahead - and make sure to protect it with a safety net from Aviva Home Insurance, just in case.