Back to school season is here! This is the beginning of a new era for us; all my kids are in high school. I can’t believe it. Seriously these children are growing up far too quickly for my liking! However, I feel like a pro now when it comes to back to school time and having everything ready and organised for the transition for the first day of school.
Back to school time is a balancing act with a house full of kids and having to organise school supplies, lunchboxes, uniforms, paperwork, work, household duties, the list can go on…. it’s exhausting just thinking about it! If you’re feeling overwhelmed I’m here to help you get prepared, sharing my Back to school tips for busy mums, to help you have everything organised for the first day of School.
The best tip of all is to be realistic, know what you can handle and only do what you desire. Close your eyes and think about how you vision the year as a school mum? Ultimately we want to be there to support our kids in thriving throughout their school year, while also looking after ourselves and not over committing.
As mums, we always want to be involved in everything the kids do, as well as getting the kids involved too, from sports training, music lessons to playdates. Be kind to yourself and the children, limit your volunteering commitments and kids after school activities. As eventually throughout the school year, the kids get tired and grumpy, and it limits time for homework and study. Avoid the mum comparison trap and measuring parenting success. Just do what is best for you and your family and don’t feel guilty for making choices that best suit you.
Don’t compare yourself to other mothers. We are all have our struggles in one way or another, some just hide it better than others.
Like I always say the tips I share on my blog are just a guide for you (an inside look observing how I organise my household). I like to bake for the kids lunchboxes, but maybe you don’t have the desire to bake or cook, this is perfectly OK! Please use these tips as a guide and focus on those areas that suit you and adapt it to your household.
ORDER SUPPLIES ONLINE
Have you ever experienced the madness at the department stores at back to school time? It is chaotic; you’re not only dealing with every other mum and her trolley but low stock levels too. The last thing you want to do is to be travelling all over the place for school supplies.
Most suburbs have a local office supplies store like Officeworks, but there are also great smaller stationery shops too, where you can order online, and they will deliver everything you need to your door! Google your suburb and office supplies to find a local business. This will save you time, petrol, easier to look at the prices to help stay within your budget.
An essential organisation tip is to label everything, especially school supplies, as kids will have very similar items, you want your child’s sports shirt or ruler to be easily identifiable. You want to label everything your child owns and takes to school, including uniforms!!
FOR CLOTHES: I started using the no-iron labels, as my kids had a sudden growth spurt last year and I had to buy them new uniforms half way through the year, and I didn’t have the time to iron on labels. I picked up some of these Avery® No-Iron Clothing Labels; they are genius, no messing around with the iron, very easy to use, save time, permanent, washer and dryer safe!!
- Simply write directly onto the label with permanent marker.
- Place your clothing (it has to be clean and wrinkle free) on a hard, flat surface.
- Peel label off the sheet and firmly press onto the fabric for five seconds.
The larger no-iron labels are great for the kid’s lunchboxes and shoes.
FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES: When looking for a label for school supplies you want one that will stick to many surfaces, plastic, wood, metal, rubber, etc. This year I am using the Avery® Kids Self-Laminating Labels. With 3 kids this gives me the option to personalise each label with either their first name, initials or just surname.
- Simply write on label with any permanent marker
- Remove white backer and press laminated seal down.
- Remove the laminated label from liner and apply to your item.
Pick labels that are waterproof, dishwasher and microwave safe.
So you can use them for kid’s lunchboxes, drink bottles, sippy cups, etc.
REMOVEABLE LABELS: My kid’s school supplies each student with a laptop. However these can not be permanently labelled, but I feel it’s necessary to still put the names on them for easy identification. I picked some that are durable and flexible that have a strong adhesive but can be cleanly removed if needed.
One idea is to use different colours and styles, to identify different children’s things or the different purposes for the stationary.
Labels don’t need to be fancy or complicated! You can find good school labels at Officeworks and most office supply stores.
I meal plan and go grocery shopping on the weekend as opposed to ducking into the grocery store on a busy weeknight when the kids will be tired after a long day at school. I can’t exaggerate enough how meal planning helps my sanity. To have all our dinner and lunchbox essentials in the fridge for the beginning of the week makes those busy afternoons easier. You don’t want to be dragging tired kids to the grocery store.
Consider your after school commitments to what you would then plan for dinner.
LET THE KIDS HELP
Busy school mornings can present themselves with many challenges, making breakfast, making lunches, ironing uniforms, refereeing arguments, it’s a juggle. Kids love becoming independent. Organise your fridge and pantry to make the process easy for them to help you pack lunches.
HOW TO ORGANISE THE FRIDGE AND KEEP IT TIDY – Organise the fridge to help keep it tidy, prevent food from spoiling, ensure leftovers get eaten, and it makes it easy to write a shopping list as I can quickly glance and see what I need to top up. Read more here.
DON’T FIGHT THE CONTACT BATTLE
I used to cover the kid’s school books in contact in the early days, once the third child started school by the end of it I was cursing and just wasn’t pretty to be around. It did my head in, probably because I couldn’t handle having bubbles in it. Since I have used book covers, they are more expensive, but they have saved my sanity!
FUN ORGANISED HOMEWORK AREA
A study space for the kids to sit down and do their homework can help motivate them to get it done! While the older kids may like to lie on their beds, it’s beneficial to create a clutter free homework area and a good habit to get them to sit at a desk to encourage proper posture, preventing back and neck pain. Find more about organised homework areas here.