8 Simple Ideas To Help You Get Organised For The New School Year
A few simple ideas for making the back-to-school process as smooth as possible to set your children up for a great year.
Well, the school holidays are drawing to an end and so the prep work has begun to get organised for our current crew of 7 to go back to school. This is a new one for me. With 4 biological kiddos we have always been considered a ‘large family’ but with 3 extra foster kids this year the anti has been well and truly upped.
The biggest challenge here is that our children will be going to 3 different schools. Yes! Three! While our oldest child heads off for his first year at high school, our newest additions attend a different school to our bio kids. It’s a private school with a very strict uniform policy and lots of rules and regulations that we have not previously been familiar with. Thankfully the staff have been lovely at supporting us as they are so glad that these children are able to stay in their current school despite the change in care arrangements.
So, amid the chaos of getting organised for a new school year, here are my 8 best tips for simplifying the process and keeping those back-to-school costs as low as possible.
- Fill your freezer with sandwiches. This has been a life saver for me with 4 kids and will be even more so with 7. During the holidays I always get the kids involved with helping make a large number of sandwiches to freeze. They kids enjoy making them with the toppings and spreads that they like and then label each one before it gets placed in the large freezer drawer compartment of our fridge. Having a stockpile of ready-made sandwiches makes it super quick and easy for each child to re-pack their lunch box for the following day.
- Check out the local second hand shops for school uniforms before you buy new. I started this a long time ago as a large Salvation Army store is directly next door to my work office. I pop in regularly to see what uniform items I can pick up for a fraction of the price. With the exception of my oldest child’s new high school jumper, I haven’t bought brand new uniforms in years. A school t-shirt alone can cost around $40 new and I regularly score near-new items for $5-$7 apiece. They also have discounted stationery, pencil cases, lunch boxes and drink bottles. Buying used can significantly reduce your back to school expenses.
- Get organised. This one is pretty straightforward but is absolutely essential for a large family. At the beginning of the year a vast quantity of notes with information about each child’s library days, physical education days and school events etc. I like to use a Master Plan Diary to immediately write everything into and I also create a 1 page document on my computer to stick on the fridge so that all this important information isn’t lost. Check out the link below for the Master Play 2021 Diary.
4. Purchase good quality shoes. Ok, so I love to save money but this is one thing I never scrimp on. Over the years I have found that buying good quality shoes will actually save money in the long run. Shoes bought from cheap department stores quickly wear out but by spending a bit more money on a better quality shoe, it will last your child all year at least. Sometimes they are actually outgrown before they are worn out and can be passed on to younger siblings. Good quality shoes are definitely a must.
5. Label everything. It can get really expensive when your child keeps losing their hat or school jumper. This is another reason why I buy these items used wherever possible. We go through so many school hats its ridiculous and drink bottles and lunch containers seem to get lost frequently too. Labelling these items gives a much greater chance of helping them find their way home. I also only label them with our family name as we are the only family in our school with our name. This makes handing things down easier as well.
6. Access the services that are available to you. We have always driven our children to and from school…until now. I only recently discovered that there is a school bus stop located very nearby our house. Fortunately, this particular bus services all three schools that our children will be attending so we have decided that using this service will make our morning routine a lot easier. My husband and I both work fulltime and by putting the children on the bus in the morning, I am able to start my workday earlier and therefore finish earlier. I actually wish we had done this years ago…
7. Encourage independence. This has been a hard one for me over the years as I tend to do more for my children than is necessary. It actually took a very long time before I even let my children pack their own lunchboxes but I am slowly getting better at handing over tasks that they can do for themselves. I have found that a lot of learning comes from this because the children learn that if they forget to pack their bag properly and don’t take their hat, then they don’t get to go outside to play that day. It puts the responsibility back onto them and natural consequences are great for learning. My children are now pretty good at getting themselves ready in the morning and we are never late for school.
8. Embrace email. With 7 kids, I am aware that keeping in contact with all those teachers is going to be a challenge. Even with 4 children, I have used this strategy and found that unless it is something very important, communicating with teachers via email is very effective. I have found that teaches seem to respond very quickly to emails and I am able to check in and see how my kiddos are doing on a regular basis without having to visit all of those classrooms.
So, there you have it! A few simple ideas for making the back-to-school process as smooth as possible to set your children up for a great year.
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