How to get your kids back to school with ease

If getting your kids back to school gets you down, here’s a routine every parent can master.

There’s been a sorrowful mood building in my house this week. Everyone knows that it’s almost time to go back to school. To get life back into routine again.

I love the school holidays, and I’ve written another article about how the holidays are a great time to let everyone live a little. But as usual, they’re coming to an end.

Why is going back to school so hard?

Just the thought of getting ready has me breaking out in a sweat. I think it’s because I know that the 10 weeks always feel like a marathon.

It’s a sad truth in my house that the wheels usually fall off my well organised machine midway through the term. All my good intentions and clever systems fall apart at the first hurdle. I’ve learned to treat every school term as a fresh start. To do a bit of work on the weekend before, so I position myself for success.

It’s almost like a one-woman competition to see how far I can get until it all falls apart. My personal best is around Week 6. This term, I’m aiming for Week 7.

To keep myself accountable, and to avoid the cries of “have you seen my belt” and “I don’t want to go”, here are seven things on my “getting ready” list:

1. Mend, soak and iron the uniforms. Spruce up any other things that are looking a bit grubby too.I know it’s simple, but how often have your kids pulled their school bag out only to find a colony of bacteria residing in their lunchbox from last term?I also find that there’s always a missing button or a torn sleeve to repair. Otherwise, that the shirt will be put in solitary confinement for the term. Having everything ready to go in the cupboards and drawers is the first step to success.

2. Stock the pantry. We eat different meals during term time and the holidays. Doing a big shop the weekend before school goes back means we have the right things on hand. But it also sends subliminal messages to my teens that the holidays are drawing to an end.

3. Make interesting lunch options. Vegemite or peanut butter rolls are staples in our lunchboxes. But I like to inject some homemade flair. It might be mini pizzas, scrolls, sausage rolls, sushi, fried rice and cookies.I seem to have the greatest success if I do a big bake up and then release them from the freezer one day at a time.

4. Stock up on pens and 2B pencils. At some point someone will say “I need 2B pencils today” at 6am in the morning. Having some on hand makes you a gold star parent straight up.

5. Pay your bills. There seems to be a flurry of costs at the beginning of term. Clearing the decks of older bills helps to stay on track with the new ones.

6. Memorise the date for the next holidays. Everyone will assume you know it. Being able to give the answer will limit the frustration of having to keep looking it up. Knowing how many weeks are in the term and tracking what week you are up to is also good for parental sanity.

7. Pack the night before. I get my kids to empty out their bag and give me any lurking washing the day before they go back. Packing the night before make sure they know that I am not playing the “I can’t find…” game in the morning.

“In school you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” – Tom Bodett

And then before you know it, we’ll be in the thick of homework and assignments again. Be sure to check out my article on getting a great homework hustle if that’s been a battle ground in the past.

With one child out of school and the other two heading there, I’ve realised that there will come a time when I’ll miss the rhythm of school and holidays. But I’m not there yet. So in the meantime, I’ve got some baking and mending to do…

What are your back to school rituals? I’d love you to share them below.

Rachel Doherty

Rachel Doherty is the founder of Tweens2teen. She’s a social worker, teacher and the mother of 3 teenagers. In her spare time she trains youth workers and does a lot of washing and cooking. You can read more of her work on her website – tweens2teen.com

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