With only a couple of weeks until our children go back to school for a new year, it is time to start thinking of what you need to buy and get organised for the school year ahead.
After having spent eighteen years doing the yearly back to school preparations with our three boys, I will share with you some hints and tips I have learned along the way.
1. Write a list of everything you need for each child including uniforms and lunch boxes. Usually, booklists are organised through the school or Officeworks has a pick and pick up service online. Anything that saves you time is your friend!
I mistakenly decided to do the booklist on my own one year, as I thought I could do it cheaper. Ahh nooo, it cost a lot more and caused a lot of stress trying to find the right items on the list.
2. Label EVERYTHING! And I mean everything… even socks (you will be surprised what kids manage to lose). I have told our middle son that I am buying GPS chips for his clothing this year, because he is chief lost and found, especially school hats and jumpers. Our label maker has been a life saver for labelling books and stationery.
3. Bulk buy socks and undies. Again, you will thank me for this! We have had so many pairs of socks and undies go missing. I swear we have an underwear fairy in this house, who regularly takes one sock from every pair and a few pairs of undies a week. I highly recommend Bonds socks and undies. They are great quality and their bulk buy packs are fantastic. At the moment, Bonds have 30% off bulk packs. Bargain!
4. Get the kids back into a bedtime and sleep routine at least a week before school starts. Then you won’t have trouble getting them up to go to school. Also, kids need at least nine to eleven hours of sleep to function effectively at school. The Raising Children website is a great resource for sleep advice.
5. Set up a routine timetable for school work, chores, out of school activities etc. Kids thrive on routines and it really does help when they get to secondary school. I let the boys have a break after school and then from 5pm until dinner time is homework/ study time. If you don’t get your kids into a study routine early, it really is hard for them to plan and do homework later on.
6. Have designated spots for school bags and shoes. I bought a square cube storage unit from Ikea to store the boys bags and shoes in. It has doors down the bottom for the shoes (and to hide the mess) and the cubes above provided a great spot for their bags. Ikea has a great range of storage solutions such as shoe units to help tidy near your front door. You can buy an array of decorative hooks to place near the front door or their bedroom doors for school bags. Make a place for notes to go and lunchboxes to be put into the kitchen when they get home. You could also try Kmart, Big W etc but I’ve found the Ikea units to be of a thicker construction and will put up with a battering from kids, whereas the cheaper units chip easily.
7. School lunches.
From day one, try and include a balanced variety of foods in your child’s lunch box. Unfortunately, the boys will only take a sandwich and snack, so it gets a bit boring making the same thing all the time but I am trying to push other foods into their lunchbox. We have previously written about school lunches or you can check out Pinterest, which has some great ideas.
Short hair means it is cooler for your child (why does the weather always get really hot when they go back to school?) and easier to get rid of nits, if they catch them. However, if your child has long hair, we recommend tying the child’s hair up and spraying with a leave in conditioner, hairspray or similar as nits don’t like hair product.
9. Eyes and teeth.
Now is a great time to get your children’s eyes and teeth checked. I usually book the boys in to see an optometrist every couple of years in January and the dentist annually. Optical and dental appointments are bulk billed via Medicare and covers children aged between 2 –17 years on any one day of the calendar year.
10. School uniforms
I usually buy at least three of everything. If you forget to do a load of washing for a day, you will thank me. Believe me, when my eldest was in primary school, I was working full-time and it was a regular occurrence!
Buy decent quality school clothing. Decent school wear doesn’t have to be expensive. After buying cheap polos and shorts from the major department stores and having to buy new items every few months due to piling, stains, stitching coming apart, the shape of the item stretching or going out of shape (especially shorts!) and colour fading, I soon learned that replacing cheaper items works out to cost a lot more thank buying one quality item.
11. School shoes
School shoes are another item that can’t be scrimped on. Growing feet mean they need to be fitted properly for shoes. When the eldest was young, he would go through a pair of shoes from the cheap department stores in a month. Boys are incredibly rough on shoes!
In the end, we would go to the start of the year sales and buy runners from sports stores and they lasted all year. When he hit high school, we quickly learned the same thing, to buy decent quality shoes, like Clark’s school shoes, and they would last all year. The trick is to buy shoes that have a decent amount of growing room in them and make sure they are looked after by using shoe polish regularly.
Speaking of Clark’s shoes, the shoes feature anti-scuff technology, scuff-free leather, are the toughest school shoe on the market, are durable & tough to withstand wear & tear and features a natural technology, developed to eliminate odours & prevent bacterial and fungal growth.