Here’s our check list in the lead up to the start of the school year. Take a squizz and see if you’re prepared or what you need to get organised.
Uniform and school shoes. Ok, this seems like a no brainer but the holidays are loooong. Are the uniforms in good working condition after last year? Have you got enough shirts and socks? Is any item too small now?
Additional items like hair bands/ribbons/clips etc., socks (matching socks!), umbrella/rain coat, tissues or wipes, library bag, art smock. Items like hairbands and art smocks are often in places like Best and Less and Target at the beginning of the year, but harder to find at other times. Hairbands seems to go into the same black hole as socks, so stock up on school colours so you’ll have lots for the year ahead. Check the list your school has supplied (if you’ve been given one).
Stationery supplies and textbooks – most schools do a stationery list and you can even drop this list at certain stationery stores to have it filled. This is great for busy mums but choosing and buying supplies is also another way to build excitement for kids who aren’t too keen on returning to school.
Each school is different when it comes to stationery and other required items, with some supplying everything and others asking for donations of things such as tissues and wipes. Make sure you’ve confirmed what you’re expected to supply. Some do require you to order a textbook or two online so make sure you’ve done this by the deadline.
New lunchbox and drink bottle – this is as big deal for most kids and can be an exciting part of getting ready for the new school year. Make sure both are practical and functional. For example, can your child open both easily? Does it hold enough and fit in the school bag? Will it leak?
Labelling all items (groan). Iron on labels work well for some, a permanent marker works well for others. Each to their own. No judgement here. Just label everything, absolutely EVERYTHING! This includes the base and lid of containers. Stuff does eventually find its way back to your child somehow. We drew the line at labelling socks and you COULD even get away with not labelling actual uniforms if there’s no reason for them to be taking them off at school. But hats and jumpers are a must. Our child even lost his shoes for a few days (huh??) – so even label those! (He took them off in the sand pit apparently and his little friend put them on by accident!)
Contacting books (groan again!) Some mums actually find this kind of a therapeutic exercise…made a fraction less painful with a glass or two of wine.
Medication if you have a child who needs to take medication to school (i.e. Epipen, antihistamine) check it’s all in date, labelled etc.
A check list – consider displaying a morning checklist by the door or in the kitchen that you, dad and the kids (if old enough) can run through – this is very handy if you’ll be in a rush. .e.g. lunchbox and drink bottle, hat, homework etc.
Activities roster – In addition to the above, if your kids do lots of afternoon activities, have a weekly calendar displayed so they can do some of the organising themselves.
Lunchbox inspo – Spend a little time looking up some new lunch and recess ideas. Get organised with various (labelled!) containers in the required sizes. Stock up on zip lock bags and/or brown paper bags. If you have a little one going to school for the first time, show them where in the lunch box you’ll put recess and where lunch will go. Many schools offer crunch and sip prior to recess. Have a practical container specifically for this purpose. Pick fruit and veg that’s easy to snack on in a short amount of time. E.g. a kindy kid would battle to finish a whole uncut apple probably.
Kids do love to get something from the canteen so work out what will work for your kid, what’s on offer and how much you’re happy for them to spend. Have a little purse or pouch in their bag for this purpose. It can double as a good reward system too!
Practise makes perfect – If it’s the first time going to school or it’s a new school, do a practise run so your little one is familiar with where you’ll be dropping them and where they need to walk. Same for the afternoon pick up. Also, if it’s your child’s first year at school, you may want to have a chat about going to the loo – can they manage the locks on the doors and does your little boy know about urinals?
Safety first – You may like to have a safety chat if your kids are now starting to be independent and walk or ride to or from school or catch the bus – what should they do in an emergency? If a stranger approaches them? If they get off the bus at the wrong stop or miss the bus? Who’s a ‘safe’ person they can ask for help?
Re-set the body clocks – If the kids have been staying up later during the holidays, allow a week or so to get back into the school bedtime routine so it’s not a shock to the system for everyone involved!
Good luck mummies (and dads!). It’s an exciting and busy time of year! We hope you get off to a great start.