Back To School Success – How to Feel Prepared & Relaxed as a Parent
Back to School can be a readjustment after the long school holidays! For us, the change is even bigger as we have started using childcare for the very first time now that our 3.5-year-old has started pre-school. Suddenly, we have to be places at certain times and have all kinds of things ready and prepared.
There are a few things I like to do to ensure I feel prepared and in control about the school run to help avoid stress. These are my top tips:
- Keep the nursery/school backpack packed with everything that needs to be there. For us, that’s a labelled spare set of clothes and, depending on the weather, sun cream and a sun hat or a hat, gloves and rain clothes. When you get home at the end of the day, check if anything needs washing and replenishing.
- Set the alarm for the morning with a bit of extra time so that you don’t need to rush. For me, it’s very important that I have time to sit down for 5-10 minutes to have my breakfast and a lovely mug of Kimbo coffee or two some days.
- Ensure the school uniforms are organised and easy for your child or children to find. When I put the laundry away, I put all the uniform bits plus enough socks and pants to one side and put together the outfits for the different days. They’re all the same just different coloured tops and my daughter has socks with the weekdays on at the moment. I fold the clothes into the school cardigans for the different days so that I have neat little packages of outfits for school ready. Then I store them in a separate drawer from the rest of my daughter’s clothes.
- Have spares! Have a few spare school clothes in case you get behind on washing or something breaks. I also keep some spare plimsolls as sometimes we get caught in the rain without boots and the shoes get soaked and can’t dry for the next day. Having spares means you don’t need to go to the shops last minute trying to find what you need.
- In the evenings, ensure all the lunch box bits are washed and ready to be filled. I sometimes put some snacks in boxes the night before but I always make the sandwiches, vegetables and fill up the water bottle with fresh water in the morning. I wouldn’t want a soggy sandwich, crusty cucumber or old water myself, so I’d rather just spend a few minutes in the morning ensuring these things are as fresh as possible.
- Keep the foods you’ve bought for the lunch boxes separately, so that nobody else in the family accidentally eats them and you’re left with nothing to put in the kids’ lunch boxes.
- Have a set place for all the school things in the house. I keep the school backpack and the lunch box together and keep the rain clothes with those bags too. Wellies, shoes, hats and gloves are all by the door. This way, there’s no running around trying to find the school bag in the morning.
- Keep a clothes marker pen (we have a Sharpie one) available so that you can easily label any clothes that haven’t been to school before. A pen is so much faster and easier than sewing or sticking labels on.
- A wall calendar is a good thing to help you keep track of any special school activities and dates you might need to pack other things for like school trips.
- Leave at least 10 minutes before you really have to so that the school run is not stressful. If you have to change a nappy (I have a toddler too) or some clothes right before you leave or you realise you have forgotten something, it’s not a big deal at all if you have time to spare. You also don’t have to walk really quickly or worry about the buses running late or hitting all the red lights if you’re driving. Having a bit of extra time makes everything more pleasant and I’m definitely a lot less likely to get stressed or annoyed.
- Last, but not least, have a snack ready for the school pick-up. My daughter is always ready for a snack when I collect her, despite having a big snack and a lunch box at pre-school. I take a fruit/vegetable pouch, a cereal bar and a water bottle for her most days and she eats and drinks on the walk home.
What are your best Back to School or school run tips?
This was a collaborative post with Kimbo Coffee.