The school holidays are over, and mums and dads up and down the country are doing secret Winnie-the-Pooh-style jigs of joy when no one’s looking. Of course we’re going to miss our little treasures, but we need a break too, right?
Trouble is, going back to school means hard work for parents. There are the back to school supplies to stock up on, the mountains of homework to scale, the hunt for lost socks and missing uniforms, and coaxing the kids out of bed (an art form in itself) – not to mention keeping track of all those endless bits of paper with Very Important Things written on them.
But we’re here to help you, with brilliant back-to-school tips from the top experts: other parents. From mum bloggers and parenting authors to our wonderful Jessops customers, we searched far and wide to bring you these nuggets of wisdom. Put our tips into practice and you’ll be voted Mum/Dad of the Year before you can say “Tell me it’s not half term already”.
Neide Johnstone, from Plymouth, mum to twins Robert and Jack, 13, and Georgina, 10, says:
“Before the beginning of term, I make a space to keep all the school letters and notes for the school year. I use a box file but you could use anything – a cabinet drawer or a simple folder. Create a section for each child or subject. This helps me keep track of stuff, and the kids know where to look when they need things.”
Anna Corry, who writes parenting blog Blossomingbirds , says:
“I lay out my own clothes, and the kids’ clothes, the night before. Trying to get out of the house early in the mornings can be manic enough, and it’s little things like this that make it easier. That, and having the coffee machine ready and waiting so that all I need to do is hit ‘go’!”
Jane Cullen, from London, mum to Jack, 10, and Sonny, eight, says:
“Use your fridge. The best place for notes that need attention is somewhere the entire family will see it without being able to make any excuses. I attach daily checklists with things to remember for both kids.”
Try this: Make an Instax fridge photo magnet for each child – just peel and stick your favourite Instax photos to the magnetic rubber pads.
Rowan Gillespie, from Belfast, mum to Felix, seven, says:
“My son gets really anxious before the beginning of term, so I organise play-dates with his school friends during the last few days of the holidays and the first week of term. That way, he re-establishes his friendships quickly. Last year I arranged it so we could walk to school with one of his friends. It stopped him being so nervous.”
Claire Kirby, who writes parenting blog Life, Love And Dirty Dishes, says:
“Pre-booked shoe fitting appointments are something they should put in the parenting manual. Avoid the chaos, and the queues, and spending a small fortune occupying the kids when you’re told to come back in two hours. You’ll still spend a fortune on the shoes, but it will be a lot less stressful.”
George Walters, from London, dad to Sam, 12, and Sofia, nine, says:
“This sounds like a no-brainer but I went years without following my own ad-vice and I lived in permanent chaos. Last year I bought a wall calendar – it’s an absolute godsend. You need enough space on each day to write down everyone’s activities, such as playdates. I sound a bit sad but I can honestly say it’s changed my life.”
Try this: A family photo kitchen calendar – personalised with your 12 favourite family photos to admire throughout the year.
Sara Longman, from London, mum to Mia, nine, and Tess, six, says:
“Leave the house 20 minutes before you need to on the first day back. Pre-pare for the unexpected – you don’t want to be seething because you’re stuck behind the bin men, the bus is late or you’ve forgotten where you parked the car (my favourite trick). Better still, walk – you get time to talk to the children and they’ll be more likely to sit still at school (in theory, anyway!)”
Asha Gopaul, from East Midlands, mum to Milesh, aged ten, Kelsey, six and Vikash, four, says:
“My top tip is to set aside a day as early as possible before the new term starts, to work out everything they’ll need. I don’t just mean uniforms, I mean all their bits and pieces. Someone always needs a new bag, there’s always a missing pencil case, and they all need pens, socks and so on. If I do this in advance, I can enjoy the feeling of being organised at the start of the term, and so do they.”
Liat Hughes Joshi, author of Raising Children: The Primary Years (Everything parents need to know – from homework and horrid habits to screen time and sleepovers), says:
“Use Post-It notes liberally as reminders to minimise the chance of forgetting that art homework project/sports shoes/text book, and stick them on the in-side of the front door.”
Rosie Anthony, from Sheffield, mum to Jade, 11, says:
“It goes without saying that you need to stock up on all the things they need for school, so I try to make it fun for my daughter. I go to a discount shop and let her choose the things she needs for school that also express her personal-ity, like colourful notebooks, pens, pencils and rubbers.”
Davina Griffiths, from Winchester, mum toSam, ten, and Imogen, seven, says:
“Keep a notebook or desk diary to plan your week – I put everything in there, from after-school activities to meals. When I’m feeling super-organised, I put it all on a weekly planner and keep it in the hall or on the fridge, so everyone knows what’s coming up and where they need to be.”
Try this: A personalised hardcover desk diary
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