Becoming a school mum can be daunting. There is so much more required of you than when you were packing them off to daycare. To help you settle into your new role we surveyed 250 mums on their top organisation tips for first-time school mums. They covered organisation, lunches, uniforms and so much more. So here's all the information I have gathered, just to help your transition go smoothly...
Organisation tips for first-time school mums
Before they start
Before your child starts school there are a few things you should have in place:
Lunchbox- Try out the lunchboxes and make sure they can open and close them and unwrap their food
Lunch food- Try out lunch food with your child to make sure they eat everything you are making. While your child might love a tuna sandwich at home they may not be a fan if it makes the bread soggy after a few hours. Test out your lunchbox ideas during the holidays when you go out for the day. We have a whole list of crunch and sip ideas here for you too.
Uniform and shoes- Get your child used to their uniform and school shoes. Shoes especially can take some wearing in so make sure they have worn them before they start school.
Start as you mean to go on
Starting school is the perfect time to start teaching your child independence and responsibility for their own possessions. Right from the start, have your child help pack their bag and have a responsibility in packing their bag each day. Have them carry their own bag and unpack it in the classroom. When they get home they unpack their lunchbox, get changed and put their uniform and things away.
It's much easier to start this right from the beginning than try and introduce it later.
Have a routine
Our mums said routine was key in getting out the door on time. Making sure that you have everything done the night before so you aren't rushing in the morning is a massive help. Have uniforms sorted, bags packed, lunch made- all before you go to bed. Then you just need to grab and go. Read more about how to create a morning routine that works for you here.
A lot of our mums said batch cooking saves their sanity. Spend a weekend or two a term baking school food like muffins, banana bread, slices etc and freeze them for the next month or so. Did you also know you can freeze sandwiches? Here's our complete guide to what you can and can't freeze.
If your child so much as looks at something- label it! Everything they take needs to be labeled. Even socks and undies guys! There is a range of label ideas. I use a combo of the stick on labels and a stamp. I ordered mine from Stamptastic but they are based in the UK. You can now get them here from Stuck on You. However, there's also nothing wrong with just using a laundry marker. Top tip from one of the mums- if your laundry marker is rubbing off things like lunchboxes, cover the name with some clear contact to keep it on. We have other ways to save money on going back to school here.
Have a school organisation centre
All the mums who have been dealing with school for a few years recommended a school organisation centre to keep everything together. Whether it's a separate set of drawers for school uniforms and activity uniforms or a whole shelf dedicated to school belongings, having a system makes things a whole lot easier.
Many of the mums suggested owning enough uniforms that you don't need to wash during the week, and to hang a complete set of uniform on each hanger so you can grab and go.
Some organisation tips include:
Daily planner- Have a schedule printed on the wall that has everything happening for the week. Make sure it's somewhere you can't miss it so you don't forget mufti days, fundraising days etc. We have a free printable for you below. To get the most out of it, laminate or frame it and use a whiteboard marker.
I've created two for you - depending on your aesthetic. Here's my pastel one (that I'll be using!)
Pastel Weekly Planner- download here
And here's a more monochrome one incase you prefer this style.
Monochrome Weekly Calendar - Download here
Activity calendar- Have a visual activity calendar for the kids once their schedule is in place. Use picture reminders if they can't read yet and list everything- sports, library, activities etc. This will help them take responsibility for themselves.
Note system- You get so many notes from school so it's best to have a good way to deal with them in place. Get a good quality clear plastic folder/sleeve. Put magnets on the back and stick it on your fridge. When permission notes come home sign it straight away and send it back to school. Then leave the info sheet in the folder (put them in order of date of event). Then you will easily be able to see what the child needs to bring what time they need to be there etc without having to email the teacher and ask.
Hopefully, all this will help you get going with school. Oh and maybe the first thing you should check is what day the kids actually go back- because I stuffed that one up already! Good luck everyone!