Tips & organisation ideas for what to sort to get ready for back to school without any hassle or stress. If you prepare for back to school ahead of time, then you’ll find everything so much easier to manage. Follow this list and everything will go smoothly – or as smoothly as school days can!
Back to school can a really special time – a fresh new school year with new expectations, hopes and goals. I LOVE this time of year and I try to make the most of it in terms of getting off on the right foot.
However, it can be a nightmare trying to get everything ready, making sure you have the right things for the first day, and generally getting organised for all the new things that the year may bring.
And that’s where this post will really help. Together we will go through my top tips that will make all the difference this year for you and your kids – hope you enjoy!…
I have vivid memories of that excitement of school starting again each year. I loved the idea of stocking up on new stationary (a new notepad is like fresh snow – waiting for you to dive in!), getting back into the school routine, and seeing all my friends again.
In fact, I still try and use the start of September to get my own life in order in some way as it just feels right.
I tend to look at goal setting for the rest of the year, as it makes sense to do this after the holidays, after I have had some time to chill and work out while taking a step back from the daily grind as to what is and isn’t working.
My daughter has inherited a love of school from me (fortunately!) and because I want her to enjoy her school life and get as much out of it as possible, that’s the main reason why I want to ensure we are organised and ready for day one.
Being organised about the start of school means more time to enjoy things, and less time stressing – and there’s more than enough already to stress about in life, don’t you think!
So here are my top tips on things that you should be looking at right NOW so that back to school goes as smoothly as possible!
#1 – Get Enough Sleep
You’ve been in holiday mode for a while now, so while school hasn’t quite started, it’s time to get that body clock back into normal mode again.
Both you and the children will feel the benefit of going to bed slightly earlier and getting up slightly earlier in the days leading up to school starting, because there is nothing worse than trying to crawl out of bed on day one without any build up.
It sets you up for failure if you don’t prepare.
TIP – Even smaller kids can start to understand waking up at a certain time. We got the alarm clock you can see in the picture for my daughter when she started waking up at a crazy early time every day. (CLICK HERE for more info) We were trying to work out a solution, and realised very quickly that because she couldn’t tell what time it was, it must be really frustrating for her to lie there and wait. Along with a digital and analogue display for older kids, this clock closes its eyes when it’s sleep time, which makes it so much easier for smaller children to become aware when they should try and get back to sleep. It was a saviour!
#2 – Sort Last Minute Appointments
If you haven’t got it booked in, get a hair appointment for the kids, as it will be one less hassle to do once they are back at school – and there’s nothing better than having started the school year looking smart!
Same goes for doctors, dentists, eye appointments etc…….
So – you’re now on track to easily getting up at the right time (fingers crossed!), and all last minute appointments have been dealt with.
Next comes sorting out yours and your childrens time, and all that they need to have for school – so let’s get going shall we…
#3 – Work out A Morning Routine And An Evening One Too
The school year may signal big changes for your children such as a new school, starting school for the first time etc…. – or maybe the day has only changed slightly with a new start or finish time for example.
At the very least your child is a year older, and so there will always be slight changes and modifications to their daily routines at the start of the new school year.
You could add to the routine things like: –
- Cleaning teeth
- Getting dressed
- Packing bags for school
- Making packed lunch
- Chores for the house (you could add in a few that are age dependent)
- Wake up time
- Setting out school clothes for next day
TIP – Have their routine on their bedroom wall so that they can easily see what they need to do. Use pictures if they are little – make it as easy as you can to get things done so your head isn’t spinning every morning trying to tell them all what they are meant to be doing!
Giving them a routine starts to create great habits that can be taken on throughout life – the chores may change but the habit of getting things done will stay with them.
#4 – What’s Happening Outside Of School?
Alongside their daily routines, you will all need to know what the week looks like.
Check what after/before school clubs your children are at, and schedule these in so that you are all aware of what’s going on, and you can clearly see if there are any clashes way ahead of time.
You may also need to buy items for these activities, such as clothes and kit – so make sure you are aware of what they need so there are no mad dashes to the shops at the last minute.
TIP – If they are continuing classes from last year, ensure everything still fits and works OK.
TIP – Another great idea for forward planning is that if you know other friends going to the same classes it may help loads to share lifts with other mums – especially if you have 2 or 3 children to ferry around after school.
#5 – Sort Clothes And Kit
Along with the clubs and classes outside of school, you need to ensure that your children have everything they need for actual school as well!
Here’s a quick list of what you may need to look at: –
- PE Kit
- Trainers / Pumps / School shoes
- School bag
- Coat / Hat / Gloves
- Drinks bottle
Of course, it depends on the weather when you go back as to what they may need first, but it pays to get ahead and sort everything out in one go (and it means one order online or one trip to the shops).
TIP – Supermarkets tend to have a great range of back to school items that are cost effective. Remember that kids tend to grow quickly so you need everything to last, but not forever! I also shop at outlet stores especially for school shoes which can cost a fortune…
#6 – Label Everything!
Things get muddled up in school very easily, and so it’s vital in an attempt to get the same things back each day that your child takes in, to label EVERYTHING!
Any uniform, coats, shoes, PE kit, lunch box, bag etc….. just makes sense!
TIP – If you have more than one child, don’t pay for two sets of labels – try and use a name that works for both of them. For example – if you have a child called Emily Anna Richards, and another called Alfie Richards, then you could buy labels E A Richards, and just cut off the E when labelling Alfies stuff. If names aren’t easy to do this, then just have their surname and your mobile number so that whoever finds it can narrow down whose it is, or call you direct.
I use labels from MyNameTags.com and have been really pleased with them – they do stick on and iron on types – and I use both for different things.
(There are lots of other places online as well that you can do a quick google search for, and if not, you could just simply write on clothes using a fabric pen).
By now you should be feeling pretty good about the whole “starting back to school” thing – and rightly so! – you are so much more organised as a result of all these tips.
But there’s even more that you can still do to prepare.
Namely, sorting your home out so it works really well for everyone once school starts, and a few little extras at the end. Let’s get this finished, shall we?…
#7 – Create A Place For Paperwork
For the kids of course, but don’t forget you as well!
It never fails to amaze me how much paperwork can come back in a school bag each week, and it can be difficult to keep on top of it all.
For most paperwork, it ends up in my inbox ready to sort out, but there are other papers that my daughter needs to deal with and have to hand.
Things like homework assignments, artwork she wants to finish etc…
As such, it makes sense to create an inbox for each child as well.
This can be as simple as a tray that they can use daily to see what needs to be done, and to add things from their school bag so that they don’t get damaged.
That way, when it comes time for homework, they can go to their tray and get it all out. They will know where it is, as it has a place.
#8 – Create A Place For Homework
Whether it be a desk in their room, the kitchen table, or another surface somewhere – have a think about the best place for your kids to get their homework done, and make sure it’s ready.
Ideally you want to create a space for them in an area that’s quiet enough for them to work, but that you can still keep an eye on them and help if required.
Have the computer in the space as well if possible, and ensure they have plenty of supplies i.e. pens/paper etc… so that they aren’t distracted by having to look for a hole punch when they could be getting on with their work for example.
#9 – Create A Place For Display
Children can come back with so much art/certificates and other work each week – and it’s important to acknowledge what they have done – so having a special place for their latest piece is a great idea.
Use a noticeboard or even a frame and then get into the habit of changing pieces over as they get added to – you can scan the best pits to keep forever – without having to find loads of space in the house.
Having everything out actually dilutes the value of their newest piece as it gets lost amongst everything – so don’t feel guilty about rotating items as they become older.
#10 – Create A Place For Bags
It makes sense to have somewhere for each child to hang their school coat, bag, shoes etc…. so that it’s all in one place, can easily be seen and checked (if they are little), and they can tidy things away themselves.
If space is tight, a hook on the wall and a small basket underneath is sufficient to keep it all together, and if you have more than one child, colour code the hooks and bags so that they know whose is whose.
You can then see at a glance if anything is missing – you can check PE bags for dirty kit, and book bags for homework – and then it’s all quick and easy to grab the next morning.
#11 – Think Food!
Children get hungry. Very hungry!
Snacks are important to have on hand both for packed lunches and for after school. And it’s ideal if they are healthy wherever possible.
Grab a couple of baskets and fill with things like dried fruit, cereal bars, mini breadsticks, cartons of juice etc…. – so that they can grab them instead of the less healthy alternatives.
Why not buy in bulk and make small snack pots up yourself to save money (you can get some great little plastic pots with lids that work really well for raisins etc….)
If you do packed lunches, then do similar to the above point for these as well – have small portions of cheeses, meats, yoghurts, fruit, carrot sticks etc…. that can easily be pulled together to make a great lunch without much hassle each week.
Stock up on the stuff that lasts so you don’t get caught out!
#12 – Collect Loose Change
Make it a habit to put any spare change you have in a pot when you get home.
It soon adds up – and there are countless times that your children will need a bit of money for school – events at school, dinners and snacks etc…
#13 – Collect Contact Details
It’s also worth having vital numbers written down at the start of the year, such as school, after school clubs, friends who can help if you are stuck in traffic etc….
I keep these in my Home File (and have them in my mobile also).
It can be really stressful at the start of the year, as there is such a lot to get sorted, but equally important is to remember to relax.
Ensure the day before school starts is relaxing – don’t leave everything until the last minute as this will make you more stressed than you need to be.
I hope you have an amazing start to the school year, and if you have followed even a handful of these tips, then you will be ahead of the game.