2018 is shaping up to be a big year for me with a newborn, toddler and my oldest starting school. I’m already thinking about the mornings ahead and the ninja style organising I’ll need to do to get us out the door on time. Here are a few organising tips that I know will help me, and may just make your back to school transition a little easier too.
1) Practise packing a lunch box, together, the night before
I’ve always been a ‘make lunch the night before’ gal. It’s my sneaky trick to keep a ‘cool’ lunchbox as well as spending less time in the kitchen because I’d pair the sandwich making with dinner being stirred and once both were done, I am out. This year I am doing the same thing, only I’m getting my soon to be ‘kindergarten man’ in the kitchen with me. Sure it takes longer to pull the lunchbox together, things get messier, but it’s such a nice time to chat one-on-one with him. I also find he tries new things as HE has put them in his lunchbox. We’re doing this most nights at the moment so he’s getting familiar with seeing his food in his lunchbox, learning to open and close it and understanding what to eat when etc.
2) Have FUN ‘dress-up’ uniform days
I’m sure I’m not alone in fantasising about my babe being able to put his uniform on himself; that day sure will be a beauty! To get to that glorious day a little quicker we have FUN ‘dress-up’ days at home. We play ‘who can put their socks and shoes on the quickest?’, ‘who can get out of their PJ’s and into their uniform the right way first?’, ‘who can unpack their bag and put the things away quickest?’. 5 & 6-year-olds LOVE this game, and it will be great to use in a month or two’s time when the fun of getting dressed has worn off.
3) Label everything, together
Now you might be lucky and have a good little writer on your hands and if that’s the case, could they write on their belongings? Unfortunately I’m not in the department, so we’re using a mix of stickers, stamps and a trusty ‘laundry marker’ for labelling all our bits and pieces. I’ve been having my son do this with me. I ask; “where should I write your name do you think? On top of the lunchbox or the bottom?” They’re involved and *hopefully* this will help him spot his items if they go missing.
4) Practise the trip to and from school
Read the school bus timetable together and, if time allows, practise the route a few times. You can also chat about where ‘they’ can put their bag in the car for an easy drop-off if that’s how they’ll get to school. In our family, we’ll be getting to school by walking / scooting / running like a mad family because the bell is about to ring and the newborn has been holding us up. To ensure my son knows exactly where we’re going, we’ve been scooting to school most afternoons to get him familiar with the route. We chat about where he’ll put his bag and where I’ll stand so he sees me or Dadda when his day is done. Each day a different question comes up, which is great because I can answer it and make my little guy feel much calmer about it all.
5) Build a calendar/timetable together
Like many families, I won’t be there every day to pick my little man up. So we’ve drawn up a wall calendar together so he can really easily see what’s on, what days. He has drawn pictures of what’s on, so there’s a big swimming pool for one day and a picture of his friends for the days I’ll be picking them up for an afternoon play at ours.
I am genuinely really excited for his first day. Sure, I am positive there will be dark sunglasses worn for the first drop-off and the tears will flow, but he’s ready. I think I’m on my own here (am I???) by saying the time hasn’t gone quick, I very much feel like he’s been here for 5 years and is more than ready to learn on his own without me.
If you’re after some more tips to get ready for school, pop over to the NSW Education website and have a read of their checklists on how to prepare at home, information on your child’s wellbeing, health and safety while at school as well as activities and talking points for kids who are starting kindergarten. And good luck for the big first day!