Top tips for preparing for the new school year

The school year is a busy time for families – it can be a whirlwind of school drop-offs, after school and weekend sports, and work commitments. Not to mention lost homework, untouched lunch boxes and messy bedrooms.

The school holidays are a chance to relax, recharge and spend time together as a family. This break is also an opportunity to get organised for the new school year.

With some preparation and planning, the new school year can be less chaotic, meaning parents and children feel less stressed and more positive about the school year ahead. This is even more important for children who are sensitive to change, starting school for the first time or changing schools.

Here are some top tips on getting organised for the new school year:

1. Take stock of uniforms and stationery

Get your school’s uniform and book list and make a list of what your child needs for the new school year. Take stock of what you already have and whether your child has outgrown, worn out or lost items. Remember to check bags, hats, shoes, lunch boxes and water bottles too.

Make a list of what you need, where you plan to purchase it and check what dates your school uniform shop will be open (and put it in your diary!). Label all items with your child’s name so that lost items can find their way home.

2. Make mornings a breeze

Make getting out the door in the mornings easier by setting up a school station near the entry to your home. Keep everything that your child needs for the school week here – school bag, homework and library books, school shoes as well as bags for extra-curricular activities such as sport and music.

Some families find it helpful to also keep children’s uniforms, hair accessories, chore charts and schedules at the school station.

Preparation the night before is also key to better mornings. Make lunches, fill water bottles, lay out clothing and shoes, and pack bags with everything needed for the next day (for example homework, library books, items for extra-curricular activities).

This saves time looking for lost items. Encourage your child to develop good habits and be responsible for organising their own belongings – this will pay off in the years to come.

3. Find your flow with feeding the family

Meal planning and food preparation are key to avoiding last-minute trips for costly take-away or to the grocery store with hungry children. Ordering your groceries online can be a big time and money saver.

Consider your family’s schedule when planning meals for the week. Plan simple meals for evenings when you’ll be late finishing work or taking children to sports. On days that you have more time, cook larger quantities and keep or freeze for future dinners.

Wash and cut/prep fruits and vegetables to make it quick and easy to fill lunch boxes and prepare healthy weeknight meals. Make in bulk and freeze items such as muffins, quiches and bliss balls to make it easy to fill lunch boxes.

4. Take bedrooms from chaos to calm

Take some time during the school holidays to declutter your child’s bedroom. Clean out clothes that no longer fit and toys and books that are rarely used. Give them to family or friends that will use them or donate them to a local charity.

A decluttered bedroom makes it easier for children to find belongings, keep the room tidy, and have space for study and play. Uncluttered rooms help create a sense of calm and promote more restful sleep, which is important for busy learners.

- By Tegan McFarland, Professional Organiser, Becoming Organised, www.becomingorganised.com.au

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