For some parents, the words “back to school” can trigger all sorts of anxiety and overwhelm, while for others it’s just a relief to know the kids are finally going to be taken off your hands again… Whichever camp you fall into, every back-to-school season you still need to figure out a new schedule and settle back into some sort of basic routine. Needless to say, every time-saving, life-smoothing, organisational tip and trick can be a huge help (for both you and the kids!).
Tip 1: Get Everything Ready the Night Before
If you’ve heard it once, you’ll hear it again from us – from pre-packing bags, organising books, to pre-packing lunches and even laying out uniforms/clothes and shoes - get it all sorted and ready to go the night before! It may mean staying up 15 minutes later than you normally would, but you’ll be glad you did when morning rolls around and everything is already in order – dreamy! If your kids are old enough, you can teach them to get in the habit of doing this themselves! It’s a great habit to carry forward into your later years – win the morning, win the day, as they say!
Tip 2: Write Out Your Routine (and stick to it)
A good routine is so important for kids (and parents!). Once you’ve set up routine and have established a bit of a day-to-day structure, you can “set and forget” a lot of little things that soon become second nature. Not having to think about these things daily is a huge energy saver! You can then write out your routine (with the help of your kids if they’re old enough), make sure all points are clear and then put it on paper somewhere visible for everyone to see. You may find it helpful to create a behind-the-door checklist for your kids to remind them what they need to do before daycare/kindergarten/school each day. You can also create an after-school checklist if you find your kids respond well to them!
Depending on their age, you might want to include things like:
- Eating breakfast
- Getting dressed
- Brushing teeth
- Making the bed
- Completing homework
- Returning the school library book
- Empty lunchbox (after school)
- Complete homework (after school)
If your kids are younger, it helps to establish which daily chores can be done on their own and which ones might require some help from you (i.e. Putting shoes on, tying shoe laces, brushing teeth, etc.). This sounds simple but can eliminate a lot of procrastination in the long run!
Tip 3: Plan Your Meals – including lunch boxes
Coming up with dinner ideas can become a dreaded and repetitive chore if left to the last minute (hello cereal dinners), which is why we always plan what we’re going to have for dinner ahead of time... (to avoid the Sunday good-mood-killer, try and plan these on Friday each week). Now, do you prep and plan your kids lunches with the same level of organisation as week-night dinners? We seem to leave ourselves open to stressful, frantic mornings wondering what to throw in the lunchbox all too often. Pre-plan lunchbox food/meals and then dedicate a space in the pantry especially for lunchbox food so you know exactly where it all is when you’re putting it together in the morning! Win, win.
Looking for a lunchbox update? Check out our Kids Lunch Bags here (they’re super stylish and they keep food fresher for longer)!
Tip 4: Have an Emergency Bag Packed
Whether you’re tackling preschool drop offs or daycare meltdowns, it’s useful to have an emergency bag packed into the car or by the door for those just-in-case moments. For last minute spills, stains, tantrums, or whatever else mum-life throws at you, your emergency bag could include:
- Wet Wipes
- Spare change of clothes
- Reusable Wet Bag/plastic bag
- Extra snacks
- Books or toys for last minute entertainment
- Mini first aid kit
Tip 5: Get the Washing Done
Before you consider throwing all of your unwashed laundry in the bin (don’t pretend you’ve never thought of doing this!), can we suggest instead throwing on a load as soon as you get back from childcare/daycare/pre-school? We all know that a kid’s day out results in plenty of dirt, paint, sand, food and everything else they get up to so why not make a habit of putting on the washing machine as soon as they get home? That way you don’t have to think about it again and it’s already done before you put your feet up for the day!
Putting a couple of these simple hacks and strategies into action now will save you a lot of time and stress in your day to day life with littles. We hope these handy hints help you transition to your new routine much easier and help eliminate unnecessary stress! Happy organising!