by Helena Tosello
The “back to school” sales are on and every catalogue in the letter box seems to think that all kids need at this time is a new pencil case, school bag and USB drive. Wrong!
What they need is a bit of pre-planning and organisation done at home to help start the year right. Younger children will need an adult to do this for them but should be included in all discussions. Older children should do it themselves with supervision.
What sort of things am I talking about?
Last year’s stuff
- Toss all last year’s notes and newsletters unless there’s specific reason to keep it.
Eg. Information regarding Term 1 2015 events like the swimming carnival.
- Toss or file store all last year’s artwork, projects, notes, folders, awards, etc.
- Clean out pencil cases and all bags: school, sport, dance, laptop and musical instrument cases – everything.
- Check and keep what still has use. Bin the rest.
- Combine useable items with the rest of the household’s stock.
Stationery is a big one here. You’d be surprised what you already have and will be relieved you didn’t buy another ruler, stapler, eraser or folder.
Do what Susanne says and store where they are to be used.
This year’s stuff
- Check uniforms and shoes to see if they need to be bought now or later in the year. If later, diarise when. I recommend keeping the latest sizes your children are wearing in your phone so that if you see something on sale you can grab it without have to go home and check.
Check with friends who have left school or have kids older than yours for hand-me-downs or cheap bargains. Most schools’ uniform shops will be open at least the day before students start
- Check what you have at home against stationery and textbook lists and make a shopping list so you can get items in one trip.
Use last year as a guide if you don’t have a specific list, and take your child with you. It may be annoying to shop with them, but they may have particular tastes and it’s more annoying if they won’t use what you buy.
- Label everything.
Use student number or initial and last name if the whole name won’t fit.
- Sort out with your child where they are going to put everything during school term. Small, expensive items are increasingly required for school, especially high school. Phones, laptops, tablets, headphones, USBs, chargers, cables all need to be labelled and stored together. Educators now recommend a charging station away from children’s rooms to prevent late night social media/gaming sessions.
- Shine shoes and make sure everything, including bags and lunchboxes, is clean.
- Sharpen pencils.
- Refill mechanical pencils.
- Check anything that needs batteries.
- Plan when haircuts are needed.
This year’s routine
- Be prepared for events early in Term 1. These are often swimming carnivals and increasingly photo days.
Note which pieces of uniform do not have stains and organise with your child so these are clean and pressed for the actual photo day.
- Work out the weekly routine for term time with your older child.
Once school has started, be prepared to make to review the new routine a few weeks after term starts and to make changes where needed. Things change and after school activities like music lessons, band practice and sports may not yet be scheduled.
All the best for more organised start to the new school year.
Helena is a mum in the middle of everything trying to regain the centre stage of her own life. She lives in inner west Sydney with two boys and a fly in-fly out husband. She enjoys coffee with friends, being organised, researching, sharing, and working on her fledging blog. You can follow her at schoolsavvymum.wordpress.com www..facebook.com/SchoolSavvyMum