6 Quick Tips for Back-to-School

Going back to school after the summer holidays brings mixed feelings. Personally, I’m sad to see the holiday feeling leave us – I love the holidays. However, many kids are ready to get back into routine, and quite often their parents are more than keen for that, too!

Here are some tips for kicking off the year in an organised manner.

  1. Reinstate (or introduce) a morning routine. We keep ours during the holidays, but have a more relaxed version. If we didn’t keep it, I’m sure the kids would never clean their teeth! The morning routine should hand responsibility of their own self-care over to your children, encouraging their independence and easing your mental and physical workload.
  2. Similarly, ensure you have an after-school routine in place, even if it’s as simple as putting their bag in its home and handing over empty lunch boxes and any notices from school.
  3. Make sure they are getting enough sleep. If your family is anything like mine, they’re often in the pool until 9pm at night during the holidays. This works just fine because we let them sleep in to compensate. Once school starts, however, our kids need at least 10 hours of sleep a night to function at their best, and because they have to get up early to go to school, a 10pm bedtime is a bit late to squeeze all those hours in! Ensure they get back into the routine of a healthy bed time as soon as possible (depending on your child, you may need a week or more of transition – ours cope okay with a couple of days).
  4. Set up a system for organising your paperwork so that the school notices don’t get lost or forgotten. There’s nothing like having your child turn up for school in uniform and everyone else is dressed up as a pirate. Your child will take some time to forgive you that little slip-up!
  5. Have a home for bags, sports uniforms, shoes, hats, sunscreen and library books, and help reinforce the habit of keeping them in their homes. You’ll need to issue lots of reminders before it becomes second-nature to them, but it does happen.
  6. Introduce Menu Planning into your own routine. It will help ensure you never run out of bread and have to resort to buying lunches. It will save a lot of money and reduce morning stress.

What are your own tips for making Back-to-school time organised and stress-free?

 

Meal planning 101

Deciding what to cook  can be a stressful activity for many.  Late afternoon heralds the time to head to the kitchen to try to decide what to cook. You open the pantry and stand there staring, waiting for the food to jump out and scream “cook me!”. Of course it doesn’t, so you then head over to the fridge to see if it’s going to cooperate better. Nope; it’s silent as well, not being very helpful at all. It happens in households everywhere!

Meal planning takes the stress out of deciding what to cook, as well as providing other benefits, and this is how it works:

  1. Clean out the fridge and take stock of what needs to be used
  2. Do the same in the pantry
  3. Refer to your recipes and old favourites and write a list of all the meals you’re going to have for the week and assign them a day.  It helps to include the whole family; everyone can choose a favourite meal to include (and it helps to have finicky toddlers choose some meals, or at least which day they’re on, because they’re more likely to then eat it without fuss – I know this from personal experience!)
  4. Write the meals on the family calendar, or on a note on the fridge
  5. Write your shopping list based on the ingredients for each meal
  6. Add in other extras such as lunch foods and cleaning products
  7. Shop with purpose (no impulse buying!)
  8. Enjoy the freedom of knowing what’s for dinner each night.

Another great habit to do is every sixth week or so, buy only fresh fruit and vegetables, bread and dairy, and plan the week’s meals based on what’s in the pantry. It helps keep the volume of food down and you can maintain a more organised pantry as well as reducing wastage.

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