So Summer is O-V-E-R and we are back to school with all that that entails. For me that means my biggest has hit secondary school and I am back in the office with a bang. There’s a misconception I think that once your child hits school age and you put the nursery years behind you, that somehow your working juggle will become easier. Sorry to burst your bubble if that’s you but it’s just not the case. If anything it gets harder and you need to be waaaay more organised to make it through those 39 school weeks each year.
Fortunately or unfortunately I have made pretty much every school mum faux pas going and as such I have got a few little hacks to share to make the back to school experience run a little more smoothly.
You can watch them here or just scroll on down to read them through. Just FYI, I do not look that cute on the actual school run days – that video was taken on a particularly lovely child-free day. School runs are a lot less smiley…
Back to school hack #1 – Stop snoozing & get up!
Yep you heard me. Stop hitting that snooze button and get up and at em’ a good 30-60 minutes earlier than everyone else. Yes, you will feel hard done to and too tired to care but the reality is that you will still feel exactly the same way if you give in to your snooze button and wake up at the same time as the rest of the zoo life around you. Except you will have a lot less time to get all the shizz done.
If you get up earlier you might squeeze in a workout or more likely just a cup of coffee in peace. Give yourself that little bit of space and time to ease yourself into the days chaos. Sleep when you’re dead – that’s what I say.
Back to school hack #2 – Pack your bags the night before
How many times have you heard that one? A lot I’m guessing and that’s because it’s the truth. You need to get everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) ready the night before because nobody has the time to be hunting for miscellaneous reading books/football socks/hair bobbles etc when the baby is lying on the hall floor throwing a wobbler, it’s pissing down with rain outside and you’re already ten minutes late.
Back to school hack #3 – Set breakfast out the night before
Nobody needs to have the “what’s for breakfast” debate / whinge / temper tantrum pre-coffee on a wet Monday morning. Lay out the breakfast dishes, cereal and items that don’t need to be kept in the fridge overnight on the table the night before. Your kids will quickly get used to knowing that this is the option for breakfast and as they get a little older can even start helping themselves to it when they stomp downstairs in the morning. It really does save a lot of time when you get into the routine.
Back to school hack #4 – Use a DAILY planner
Yep. Sorry for the shouty letters but a quick list (I do love a list) where you jot down everything everyone needs for the day is a good idea. Even the calmest mornings can descend into utter madness at the drop of a crust and when they do (they will) you will be glad of your little list that you can check before you head out of the door.
Equally, older children like my Zak can check it themselves. We write each lesson he has that day down so he knows which books he will need and then you know, the various assortment of bus pass/money/bullet proof vest type things you need for senior school life.
Back to school hack #5 – Set up a feeding station
This is my favourite. It’s easier to pop above and watch the video (5:30mins into it) but basically I buy cheap plastic storage containers, one for each food group (carbs, dairy, fruit & veg etc) and fill them with a variety of healthy foods and drinks and then all the kids need to do is choose one thing from each basket and voila! they have a healthy lunch that they think they chose for themselves and you can be smuggity-smug all day long.
Whilst you’re there do one for snacks too.
Back to school hack #6 – Create an art caddy
A bit of an unexpected one from a self-confessed crafts hater I know. Still, there isn’t a week that will go by when you won’t be expected to write, draw, stick, colour or empty-loo-roll-holder your way into the world of crappy crafts posing as “homework”. And really, when they say homework and they are still in Primary education, what they mean is “parent work”. Just in case you were under any illusions to the contrary.
Get one and stock it up so you aren’t dashing off to Tesco at 10pm the night before a Roman amphitheatre has to be erected (true story).
Back to school hack #7 – Boxes boxes boxes
It is an unspoken rule in primary schools that they are firmly remaining in the 1990’s and therefore all correspondence between parents and teachers must be done in the form of paper letters sent home, crushed at the bottom of a probably soggy school bag. Because emails are so y’know high tech.
Anyway get a clear, lidded box and immediately put all correspondence into it when said sprogling arrives home. Same for books etc. If you keep a lidded box for each child and you sift through it regularly then it will save you the bother of losing everything (me) and sending your child to school wearing their uniform on a non-uniform day (also me) again because you didn’t read the letter.
This is working really well for Zak in senior school too as he can keep all of his books in one place.
Back to school hack #8 – A daily planner is your friend
An old school paper diary (now who’s stuck in the 1990’s!) – yep that would be me. But actually I find it incredibly useful. First up there are a LOT of things to remember when your children are in school ranging from the usual dentist, haircut, opticians type appointments right through to school cake sales, non-uniform days, school trips and play dates. One year I was awfully clever and kept it all in my iPhone calendar. I even planned out all of the school holiday dates and my childcare etc.
And then I dropped my phone down the toilet and realised I’d never backed the damn thing up.
I lost everything and spent the remainder of the school year asking other parents where I should be and what on earth was world fucking book day etc. It was a disorganised nightmare so now I keep a good old fashioned day-to-view diary AND an iPhone calendar.
Either way you need it to keep track of whats happening otherwise those school events will catch you unawares. As soon as you find something out then jot it down and check it religiously the weekend before so you know what is coming up that week.
So that’s it – my top back to school hacks for busy people who need a little prod in the right direction! What are your top back to school hacks? I’d love to know so leave them in the comments box below.
Until next time