I admit it, I am one of those awful annoying people that have all my back to school stuff ready just as the kids break up from school in July! I know, I'm impossible, I've been told before but I can't bear the idea of spoiling my wonderful six weeks holiday with the kids by having to worry about how busy the shoe shop will be when I go along at the end of August with all the other parents rushing to get things sorted.
I realise I take a risk and they might have a massive growth spurt over the six weeks in the summer, but that seems to happen less and less as they get older, so I've not been caught out the last few years and to be honest if you are buying from a reputable shop most will take your items back (if unworn and with labels/ in packaging) to swap for a bigger size if it does happen.
M&S Kids asked me if I would share with you some of my #TipsAndTricks for getting ready for the back to school time. I realise some of my readers might be doing this for the first time this year which of course is crazy exciting and nerve wracking all in one, so any tips and tricks you can get for making this transition easier will be appreciated I'm sure.
Here we go -
1. Prepare early - As I mentioned above, it makes such a difference to get all the back to school uniform, shoes, PE kit, stationary, bags, lunch boxes etc bought at the beginning of the summer when there is lots of choice. I confess that I have already bought all the kids uniform for September as M&S have a 20% off schoolwear promotion at the moment and that makes it so much cheaper when you have lots to buy (running until 14th July or whilst stocks last).
2. Buy washable lunchboxes - It is nice to allow your child some choice in their lunchbox but many of them have tiny corners, stitching and flaps which are a nightmare to clean when faced with crumbs and dried on yoghurt. We now have neoprene lunchbags and I can throw these in the washing machine and they dry super quick. Also as they are made out of the same material as wetsuits, they keep the lunch cool.
3. Plan your morning routine and then stick to it. I wrote a post a few weeks back about how to ensure you have a joyous morning on school days but as well as the tips in that post I'd also add that you should write your morning routine down and stick it on the wall so your kids can follow it and know what they should be doing and when. Of course younger children will find it harder but you could use images and big clock faces, it becomes a learning experience as well as an organisational tool.
4. Sort the kids lunches a week at a time - One of my children likes school lunches every day, one just a couple of times a week and one not at all. So on a Sunday evening I get the school lunch order done online for the week ahead and I order my online shop. All the items that are just for lunch boxes and I do not want the kids to eat at other times go in an allocated drawer and can only be used for lunches. It means I always have what I need when I make the lunches up.
5. Put folders in your child's bag - I learnt about this a while back and it is genius. Get yourself two of those transparent (but coloured) plastic wallets with poppers. One acts as the school to home communication and all notes and payments go to school in it and letters and forms come back to me. It means nothing gets screwed up and can always be found easily in the messes that are my kids school bags. and one for homework. The other one can be used for homework so nothing gets lost between home and school
6. Use a homework basket and planner - With three children of different ages I get confused as to when homework is due in. So each half-term I create a wall chart so that at a glance my children and I can see what is outstanding. I then also have a basket which is equipped with pencils pens, rubber, ruler, sharpener etc and all the homework and reading books get put in there and we always know where they are. No mad dash necessary!
7. Stay on top of clearing out - Whenever I buy new clothes, stationary, lunch bags or anything else really I make sure we clear out what we always have. I like to give mine to friends or to charity shops, so someone else can benefit but you can also sell clothes either on ebay, local FB groups or there are more and more pop-up shops in retail car parks nowadays too. By clearing out what you no longer need you make room for the things you do and free up head space too! very important.
Oh and here are a few super simple tricks that you'll love -
- Remove the bobbles from any sweeter with a cheap disposable razor but do it carefully!
- Place your kids filled lunchboxes next to their shoes/ bag by the door so they never forget it again
- Break in their new leather shoes before they wear them. Get them to put on thick socks and the shoes and gently warm them all over with a hairdryer to ease the leather.
- You know those colourful thin sponges for the kitchen. Buy a load and rinse them in water and then freeze in a plastic bag. Use them as the cooler block in your kids lunch and it also acts as a mouth/hand wipe for after they eat. Wash and freeze again for the next day.
- Half fill your child's water bottle and place in the freezer on its side. Take out on the morning and fill the rest with fresh water. Now your child has chilled water all day long to drink.
I could go on and on but maybe I'll save some more tips for another post. Have you got any you want to share with us? Do them a leave if you do,
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