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?
And yes, 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!)
(Groan again!) Some mums actually find this kind of a therapeutic exercise…made a fraction less painful with a glass or two of wine. There may even be a mum that offers the service for a reasonable price – we have a local who does each child’s books for $15, regardless of how many books. Worth every cent we think!
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.
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.
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, here are some extra tips:
- show them where in the lunch box you’ll put recess and where lunch will go. Practise having lunch at home in the lunchbox before school starts.
- 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. Here are some ideas on what to include in lunchboxes.
- Kids do love to get something from the canteen so work out what will work for your child, what days its open, what’s on offer and how much you’re happy for them to spend. Explain how canteen works and how they can buy things ‘over the counter’. Again, you could practise this at home – ordering, handing over money, saying please and thank you to the canteen volunteers. Have a little purse or pouch in their bag for this purpose. Canteen can double as a good reward system too!
Bus or train passes
Does your child need one? Have they moved schools and will take a different route? Make sure you’ve worked that out and your child has the relevant pass required.
Practise makes perfect
If it’s the first time going to school or it’s a new school like high school, do a practise run so your child is familiar with where you’ll be dropping them and where they need to walk, or where the bus will drop them. Same for the afternoon pick up.
Practise is also relevent for the loo and kindy kids – if it’s your child’s first year at school, you may want to have a chat about going to the toilet. Can they manage the locks on the doors? Check there’s toilet paper before you go and does your little boy know about urinals?
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.