There are only a few weeks left before we finish another school year and thoughts are turning to summer holidays. But before you start packing, here are ten tips for making the last weeks of school count!
- Double check dates in the diary: The end of term can get busy, with school events, parents evenings and farewells. Make sure that you write each event in your calendar as soon as you RSVP so that you don’t double-book yourselves at this busy time. (You do RSVP straight away, don’t you?) If you need gifts, food or other supplies, plan what you are going to buy and when.
- Prepare for transition to the next year: A new school year means a new classroom, new routine, new teacher, more responsibility… and for some, a whole new school. Talk to your children about their hopes and worries for the next year now, so that you can prepare together. Check if your school will have a transition meeting or visit to the new classroom. Find out as much as you can now, so that you have more time to get used to things together and talk it through. As parents, we can lead the way by being prepared, organised and confident about the new school year.
- Thank you presents for teachers: Check with other parents, or your class rep if you have one, what the deal is with presents for the teacher. There may be a class collection that you can join, or your child may want to make something. Whatever you decide to make or buy, start working on it now. The last week of term will be busy, so this is something that you can organise well ahead of time. Don’t forget the teaching assistants. For some clutter-free gift ideas, head over to the More Organised top ten teacher gift list, as recommended by teachers!
- Get more out of this year’s uniform: Now is not the time to be buying new uniform – chances are that your children will have grown out of it again by September. Take insoles out of shoes and trainers to give them a few more millimetres or take shoes to a shoe-mender to be stretched. For clothing, let hems down, borrow from a friend or share with an older sibling to get you through the last few weeks of term.
- New school uniform: Write your shopping list for uniform and school supplies now. Use the school list, but check with parents who have experienced that year already to find out what’s really necessary. Write a list of what you think you will need. Check the opening times of your school uniform shop and plan when you are going to visit. Remember that your children may have a growth spurt over the summer, so you will want to wait until the last few weeks before school starts to make your purchases.
- Organise school artwork and projects: As soon as artwork comes home from school, write the date, topic and child’s name on the back. Display it on the wall, or pop it straight into a file or box if you want to keep it. Remember, you don’t have to keep everything! Start a scrapbook, selecting the best examples or pieces that demonstrate a particular skill or learning point. If you don’t have room for originals, take photos or scans and re-size them to fit your scrapbook or memory box. This works particularly well for 3-D projects and crafts. There are also a number of apps available to keep artwork and memories digitally (I use Keepy and the Project Life app). Keep the memories, not the clutter! You can read some of my tips on keeping children’s artwork here.
- Stay healthy: School holidays are the perfect time for dentist and optician appointments, vaccinations and medical check-ups. Book them in now with your clinic before their schedules get too busy!
- Write a summer fun list: Whether you are staying at home or travelling, write a holiday to-do list. It’s a fun way to organise your summer and make sure everyone gets a say. Ask each family member to suggest what they would like to do and write it down. Include plenty of exercise and opportunities for learning too. Then have fun checking each thing off as you achieve it as a family.
- Check holiday plans with friends: Before people start leaving for the summer, find out when friends will be at home. If you are staying at home for any period of time over the holidays, you will want to know who else is around for play dates. Find out now, make a note, and you’ll always know who to invite over!
- It’s not too late to form good habits: If your routine is getting a bit rough around the edges, now is the time to press the reset button. It’s never too late to form good habits. By finishing the term in an organised way, you are setting the whole family up for success in September. Make lunches and pack bags the night before, get everyone up on time, eat a healthy breakfast… Habits made now will be easy to jump straight back into in September!
Have a great summer!
This post is adapted from an article that was originally written for Which School Advisor – you can read it here!