Mr 5 has been at Big School for a whole year now, and I’m so proud of the way he has adapted to his new routine and way of life. Meanwhile, as a new-ish “school mum” I have continued to work on our routine so that we can be as organised as possible for all things school-related.
As we approach the start of a new academic year, here are ten things that helped us be more organised for school that you won’t find on the school supply list!
- Hair straighteners: Not just for Mummy’s morning hair struggles! Having put the iron through Mr 5’s brand new PE shorts last year whilst ironing on the name tapes, I wondered whether hair straighteners would be a better idea for the hastily-bought replacements. And yes! Ta-da! (Why don’t they tell you this at school as soon as you sign the little ones up?) Use your straighteners on a medium setting to “iron on” the name tapes. Much quicker, much easier… and no more melted PE kit on the iron.
- Photos: Photos and more photos. We needed passport photos for the school medical form, the class rep and the teacher. We needed family photos for projects and the classroom wall. Then more passport photos to register for after-school swimming lessons and gymnastics class. Print more than you think you need, and keep them handy.
- Extra water bottle: School is fun, and far too exciting to remember to drink water regularly. I’ve found that Mr 5 is thirsty at pick-up time, so a fresh bottle of ice-cold water in the car is always welcomed. By me too, after the school run in 45 degree heat!
- Lunchbox cutlery: You can never have enough cutlery for lunchboxes. We use the spoons and forks from the IKEA “Kalas” 18-piece children’s set, but even with name tags on they go walkabout. Stock up now!
- Luggage tags for bag: In our school, every child in the class has the exact same regulation school bag. Even with names embroidered onto the bag, it’s easy to lose a bag in the scrum. Choose a colourful, durable luggage label together with your child, or get crafty and make your own. A fun luggage label will help your little one’s bag stand out from the crowd.
- Shoe polish and trainer whitener: Shoes get dirty quickly, especially white sports shoes. Stock up with trainer whitener, shoe polish and brushes, and get your little ones involved by giving them responsibility for cleaning their own shoes.
- Artwork folder: Artwork is precious – but so is the leather car upholstery. Pop a plastic folder in your car to keep those masterpieces together and safe for the journey home. I learned the hard way – glitter and crumbled-off poster paint don’t clean up easily. And little people get very upset if that unique artistic flourish of feathers / googly eyes / tin foil becomes detached from the original masterpiece on the way home.
- Notebook or journaling cards: Mr 5 and I spend a lot of time in the car and have some of our most important conversations on the school run. I keep a weekly scrapbook, and I like to include snippets of our conversations and funny comments in our family memory-keeping. However you preserve your memories of this school year, find a way to capture some of your conversations. Jot them down, with the date, in a notebook or even on your phone once you have finished your journey.
- Calendar: I foolishly thought that the school website and “Communicator” app would be the extent of our communications… but the class parents have their own Facebook page and Whatsapp group, as well as the traditional noticeboard on the classroom door. Add in the home learning website, parents’ contact details, year group blog, weekly headteacher’s newsletter and parents association communications… and you can quickly reached information overload! Find out how your class and school communicate, speak to other parents, and work out a way of capturing all the information that works for you and your family. We set up a simple family “Mission Control” to keep all of us organised and up to date.
- Box of tissues in the car: I didn’t expect to continue being so emotional! This cute little guy in the grey ankle socks and button down shirt is all mine, and I’m so proud of him. If I actually manage to get through the first day back at school without shedding a tear, I can always use them to clean the toothpaste off his cheek or wipe paint from his newly labelled uniform. After all, children will be children, and even more so when they’re having fun with their new friends at school.
Do you have anything else to add to this list? I’d love to hear how you keep your school routine more organised!