Preparing to return to school after the holidays can be a daunting task for many parents. With school uniforms, stationery and often back-to-school anxiety felt by all, it is easy to slip into a state of overwhelm. To help make the return to school run smoothly, here are our top five tips to help you get back-to-school ready.
- Create ‘to-do’ lists – Checklists are an easy way to transfer your thoughts to paper (or iPhone) to keep you on track, and turn down the volume on that internal chatter. Read on for some examples of back-to-school to-do lists:
- Tasks and appointments checklist - things like cleaning schoolbags and lunch boxes, checking that shoes and uniforms still fit, picking up textbooks needed for the year ahead, plus any specialist appointments pre or during the school term that need to be scheduled.
- Stationery checklist – schools often provide a stationery checklist including other items required for the classroom. If your school doesn’t provide a checklist, check your local stationery store.
- Schoolbag and morning routine checklist – remembering when to pack the sports kits and library books can be a challenge! Create a list of what your child needs to take to school each day of the week. Once they’re old enough they can even use this list to pack their bag themselves. A great tip we love is pinning a list to the family fridge with the key morning tasks such as 1) getting dressed 2) making/eating breakfast 3) brushing teeth and 4) packing lunchboxes. This helps to keep things on track and makes the morning tasks more fun!
- Prioritise sleep – The body needs sleep to restore itself. When sleep goes out the window, life just gets harder, for adults and for kids! The National Sleep Foundation recommends that school aged children get between 9 and 11 hours of sleep a night.1 For a few days or even a week before the kids return to school, encourage them to go to bed and wake as they would during the school term. This will help re-establish a healthy sleeping pattern and reduce the morning sleep ins! Limiting screen time at night and making sure children are active during the day are also great ways to encourage a good night’s sleep.
- Focus on nutrition – Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day for us all. If you are pressed for time in the morning, a breakfast smoothie is a quick and easy way to get key nutrients into your body that can help to support optimal health including focus, energy, growth and immunity. Try adding one serve of(for the kids) or (for you!) to your morning shake. Kids Good Stuff provides 20+ vitamins and minerals plus 8g of plant-based protein per serve to fuel their day. Click for some quick, nutritious breakfast ideas for you and your kids!
- Make-ahead meals and snacks – Meal preparation and planning is a key tool that can be used to keep you organised throughout the school week. Using leftovers from dinner can be a great way to speed up the lunchbox prep for example, and getting the kids involved creates some quality time to connect. Some other great meal prep hacks include allocating one hour on the weekend to write out lunch box ideas for the week ahead, and batch cooking. Batch cooking is an efficient method that can be used to prepare many meals at once. Pick some of your child’s favourite recipes and double to quantities to increase the number of serves.
- Homework planning – Homework seems to start earlier these days, and particularly as the kids get older, it can bring on a little anxiety not only for them but for their parents too! To lessen the load and encourage good homework habits, you can organise your child’s schoolwork by developing a homework plan. This can be manually drawn out on a calendar or digitally scheduled using free Apps such as ‘My Study Life’. If you have a designated space in the home for your children to complete their homework, declutter the area before they return to school. It’s easier to think clearly in a tidy space, plus the cleanout will allow you to take stock of the stationery you already have so you won’t double up! Labelling drawers and folders will also encourage your children to stay organised. Why not decorate the area with some positive affirmations, artwork or other items that can help them feel more relaxed in the space.
Also remember to be kind to yourself. The idea here is not perfection and of course there might be hiccups along the way! Everyone is different in how they like to be organised so use the tools that work best for you and your family.
Give them the good stuff in preparation for Back To School (and beyond)
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