How to get you and your kids organised for school

The start of a new school year can be either very exciting, very stressful, or a bit of both, not only for the children, but for the parents as well. Don’t underestimate how much you can do in the next few weeks to get you, your house and your children ready for the new school year. Here are some things to think about and maybe even get started before the term officially kicks off.

Start the year how you plan to finish

This is what we advise new teachers, as it is much easier to continue on with expectations than to change your approach mid-way through the year. Kids are very clever at figuring out what they can get away with (as I bet you already know). So decide now what routines and behaviours you want to put in place, and get it started from the first day of term. For example, would it make life easier for everyone if the kids put their bags, homework or library books in a certain place every day, and put empty lunch bags (and bananas they forgot to eat) on the bench straight away. This is not too much to ask even preschoolers to be able to do, particularly if you teach them how to do it in the first week or so. If you set up this kind of routine, or one that suits your family, you hopefully will not be nagging the kids every day.

It takes time to get used to routines

When I went back to work at the start of this year it was quite a shock to the system. I was ready for my nanna nap come 3pm every day, and I only had 9 days off over Christmas! Our little people are just the same. They will get tired and cranky, particularly if the first week of school brings really hot days. It may be worthwhile giving them some extra practise of getting up at the right time every morning, and going to bed as they would on a ‘school night’, particularly if bedtimes have become a bit more relaxed over the holidays. Why not use the week before school officially starts as a way to set up those regular bedtimes and wake-up times.

Designate homes for school ‘stuff’

If you want your children to take responsibility for their school belongings, get them involved in finding homes for it all. You may have noticed that the most organised classrooms have everything labelled, and it certainly helps the kids know where to put things or find things. You don’t have to go this far (unless you want to, and seriously, who would blame you?), but setting up permanent homes, with or without labels can help children be responsible for their own belongings. Start with the items that were always underfoot last year, or you could never find when needed.

While the start of the school year can be very exciting for both students and teachers, remember that some kids find the whole thing very overwhelming. Your children will pick up on how you are feeling about school starting. So if you are secretly freaking out, try to fake it, so your kids start the year feeling relaxed and expecting a positive year of learning (not to mention lots of fun at recess and lunch).