Bye bye hazy days of summer, hello back to school frenzy. As exciting as the start of a new school year is, it also brings with it an almost overwhelming heap of to-dos: Buy school supplies, plan lunches, pack bags, get haircuts, iron uniform, do homework, prep for clubs and costume days, etc etc. Phew!
So how can you save your sanity in these early days of a new term? Organisation is the answer, as we discovered when we asked parents from the Joules team for tips on how to rock the school routine and get this year off to a great start:
Sounds obvious, but by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. School mornings can be hectic, even more so if you find yourself running around looking for your little one’s coat/homework/jumper/bookbag. We certainly don’t expect you to bounce out of bed at 5am, workout, read a chapter of a book, make your own musli and have a family meeting over the breakfast table before 8am. Does “that mum” even exist? But spending even 15 minutes the night before getting ready for the following day, will free-up both mental and physical energy and save you lots of morning stress.
Impressively, Dan, our Senior Retoucher, manages to go from wake-up to out-the-door within a 20 minute window. “Lay everything out ready to go the night before”, he advises. “I make sure bags are packed, clothes laid out and shoes, coats and PE kit are all ready to grab and go. It’s the only way we would get out of the door on time.”
If you like to send your little one off with a lunch box, why not making it part of the routine that they help to prepare it the night before? It’s easy to fall into the Pinterest parent trap and feel mum guilt that you’re not sending your child to school with google eyed sandwiches or bananas with tattooed love notes on. Honestly, it might not look as pretty prepped by your child, but it’ll still be nutritious and filling and they might even be more likely to eat it too.
Start by letting them choose their own stylish lunch box, with wipe clean insulated lining to make those spillages that little bit easier to deal with.
Depending on their age, they might need a little help meal prepping. Dimple, our Customer Strategy Manager, suggests: “Try setting up a snack station or lunchbox cupboard for them, with healthy snacks and a few treats that they can easily reach for. Give them shape cutters too to have fun with cutting off the dreaded crusts.”
For 8 ideas on fun and healthy back to school lunches, check out our post here.
Avoid morning school coat struggles and battles with little ones who claim they don’t feel the cold, by sending them off with a clever stowaway. Pop a pint-sized packaway in their bag for peace of mind they’ll stay warm when Jack Frost comes a calling.
Emma, our Senior Marketplace Partner Manager, advises: “Put your child’s name on everything – clothes, shoes, lunch boxes, the lot. Then if your little one loses something, you at least stand a chance of getting it back.”
Sarah, our Copywriter, is a big fan of a Joules drawstring bag. “These bags are great for keeping PE kit in”, she says. “All in one place, so there is no worry about them not being able to play. Lightweight and easy to clean, perfect for the extras and great to fold away. So there is no excuse for them not to have enough room to bring homework home.”
Remembering costume days, school plays, exams, trips and all the stuff you need to get done each day is tough. Even more so before that first cup of coffee. Lay it all out before your eyes, with a week-at-a-glance wall planner separated into sections for each member of the family. Keep it somewhere everyone can see to teach older children about time management and avoid a sea of questioning each morning. For little ones, you could also add a daily routine checklist to keep them proudly on-track.
Another super useful tool is a school filing box, preferably kept close to your bag drop zone. Assign a section for each subject and colour-code tabs, giving your child a place to unload and organise homework and reference materials. A pin board is also a great shout to avoid late-night freak outs looking for a loose slip of paper.
On the note of homework, we certainly don’t want to get all preachy on how to parent, but if there’s one routine we’ve found helpful over the years, it’s this: Make homework a little and often habit as soon as you get home.
Dedicate a homework area with the essentials already in place to head to after dropping bags. Pop some music on and settle down with a snack for 20 minutes before free time commences.
Thanks guys for your nuggets of wisdom. We hope these tips help you get organised and breeze through the new term. Do you have any other good tips? Let us know in the comments below.
Perhaps you were super prepared this year and have all the school kit sorted, well done you. For the more, ahem, last minute mums, we’ve got you covered with with £10 off £50 spend on coats, wellies, bags and accessories.