Ultimate Back to School Checklist

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After a long hot summer the holidays have come to an end, and it's back to term time. And another school year means there is plenty to do!

It can be difficult to shake off your laid back holiday routine, and actually get things organised again. But have no fear! We’ve put together the ultimate back to school checklist, so that you’ve got a quick reference of everything you need to get sorted.

Read on for our handy tips on how to get your home organised, and your kids ready for going back to school.

 

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khgh1190Highgrove 3 Seater Sofa in Mancini Silver

Your home has probably taken a bit of a beating over the school holidays! Term time is going to be busy, so save yourself time and get your household tidied before you’re back in work mode.

1. De-clutter your home. It’s easy for accessories to become clutter instead of decor! Having a couple fewer cushions on the sofa, less ornaments on the mantel piece and a good tidy up of your work desk will help you to feel more in control. A clean and uncluttered living room also provides a more welcoming environment to come home to.

2. Get kids to tidy their own bedrooms. There may be a few tears over this, but persevere! It’s not your job to clean every room in the house, and one day the children will be adults themselves with a house to run. If your children clean their own rooms rather than you having to do it, they will feel more in-control of their own space, and this can teach them a lot about responsibility.

3. Spruce up your sofa with a new, loose cover. Add a little colour and comfort to a tired sofa by adding a new loose cover. Go for a colour that complements any rugs or curtains that are in the room.

4. Add a few plants. House plants aren’t just for show - they can actually benefit your health! As well as helping to purify the air, plants like Aloe Vera can even help with burns or sores, which saves you buying expensive cream.

5. Sort through your wardrobe. The summer’s come to an end, so now’s the time to start thinking about warmer clothes, and which items you don’t wear anymore. Anything that’s in decent condition can go to a charity shop for someone else to enjoy. Or otherwise be boxed up and stored ready for next summer!

6. Thoroughly clean out the fridge and freezer. Just think how many birthday party treats and left overs are going to need to fit in your fridge/freezer this year. Any tubs of food already in there can be reheated, re-used and re-invented in lots of yummy meals so you don’t necessarily have to throw it all away.

7. Get rid of old or unwanted toys. Remember, there are birthdays and Christmas still to come, and chances are that means lots of new toys to find space for. Have a clean out of crowded cupboards so that you can fill them with toys that are actually played with.

8. Unclog the drains. It’s a thankless task, but you’ll be glad you got it out of the way once you get back into work. While you’ve still got a little spare time, unclog all the drains so you can start the term with clean sinks and showers.

9. Replace old curtains/duvets/rugs. It may not seem like an urgent task, but old curtains will fray and let in street lamp light, old rugs will get holes in them, and worn out duvets will lose their colour. Help yourself to feel better by sprucing up your everyday items.

10. Hoover the whole house. Really; hoover the whole house. Hot weather often encourages moths to come visiting so get into all the nooks and crannies of the rooms, including sucking up any cobwebs around the ceilings.

11. Stock up on household essentials. Ever been looking for a spare lightbulb and realised you’ve run out? Most households run on small but essential items like masking tape, nails, Blu-Tack, and even emergency takeaway menus!

 

School

back to schoolImage Credit: Krzysztof Puszczyński

Ok, so you’ve got the house straight - now let’s talk about what you need to do to get the kids ready for the first day back at school. It will be much easier to get these things ready if you plan ahead and do it over the long school holidays, so get into the habit if you're in a rush this year.

12. School uniforms. Fast growing kids may need replacements, and they’ve probably grown more than you think this year! Save a day purely for uniform shopping so the kids can start school with the right sized clothes. As a minimum, don’t leave it until the last day of the holidays to try on last year’s uniforms.

13. Check the condition of any kit needed for activities. Have the children got the right kit for their school activities? Musical instruments, sportswear and art supplies need maintaining throughout the year so check they’re up to scratch.

14. Buy any text books that you are needed. Check with your children and the school teachers about what subjects are being taught this year and what books your children will need.

15. Stationary. Stationary is an essential part of school life. You may think that last year’s stationary is still fine, and maybe it is, but it’s a good idea to check and restock anything that is worn out or missing. Besides, a nice new pencil case will help your children to feel more excited about going back to school.

16. Academic calendar for your children. Give your kids a calendar to fill in by themselves. Even for young children this can be good fun, and teaching them to manage their own schedule is an excellent way to prepare them for later years.

17. Check and write down term dates for the year.  Chances are that you will need to know the schools term dates on many occasions throughout the next year, so writing them down now (or making a reminder in your phone) will save you lots of time and help you to avoid double booking yourself.

18. Make a note of Parent’s Evenings. There are multiple important events during the school year, such as parent’s evenings and reading workshops, so making a note of the dates now is a good way to ensure that you don’t forget about them.

19. Stock up on packed lunch ingredients. Make sure you’ve got enough food to make packed lunches for the next couple of weeks. Remember to include healthy options; bananas, for example, can help with concentration.

20. Sort out a to and from school schedule. Agree how everyone is getting to school and work during term time. Do you need to give anyone a lift? Who’s walking home? What time is everyone getting home during the week? Even better, write down the schedule so you don’t forget.

21. Start adapting to a term time food and sleep schedule. It can take a bit of getting used to when you all have to wake up and go to bed at an earlier time! Start setting an alarm a few days before term starts and have your meals at regular hours, so that it’s not such a shock when work starts.

22. Buy bus passes and figure out times. If any of the kids are going to school on the bus, make sure that you order bus passes in advance so that you have them in plenty of time for the first day. Otherwise you might be doing a school run that you hadn’t planned to.

 

Organisation

ZBKPJ1TR37Image Credit: The Typical Female Magazine

Keeping your home and family organised during term time can feel like fighting a losing battle! However, there are a few things that you can do to keep your head above water and stay organised.

23. Invest in a large wall calendar for the whole family. Okay, so you already gave your kids their own calendar, but having a calendar for the whole family is a good way to make sure everyone knows where everyone else is. Remember to update it regularly though!

24. Download some apps to help you out. You don’t have to hold everything in your head these days; there are plenty of different apps that can help organise your busy schedule. If your schedule is synced to your phone, you’re more likely to remember appointments and keep on top of what’s happening each day. Apps can also remind you about upcoming appointments and can synchronise between your phone and your partner’s.

25. Decide who’s cooking on which days. Take it in turns with your partner to cook the family meal so one of you isn’t always having to cook. Why not even let the kids make a meal? Think in advance whether you are going to be home late and if so, who will cook.

26. Help out with homework. Believe it or not, you might occasionally be asked for help! Helping with homework gives you a good opportunity to learn more about what your children are studying at school, and to take your mind off your own work.

27. Leave some evenings free. Avoid filling every evening with activities and chores to be done. Take a break at least once every week to just sit down as a family and relax.

28. Make a note of any extracurricular activities. This way you’ll have an idea of when everyone’s getting home – naturally, this also ties in to planning transport, cooking and suchlike.

29. Put family numbers on speed dial. If you need to contact the kids or your partner, it’s easier to use speed dial than scroll through your contacts list. Whatsapp family groups are also good for updating one another on any changes of plan.

30. Introduce rewards for cleaning and clearing up. Encourage the kids to clean up after themselves or do the washing up for a change. Money is always a good incentive, ditto chocolate and favourite meals.

31. Agree who’s got the car. If you share a car, it’s a good idea to figure out who will need it and when you can walk or cycle. Thinking about this now will help to avoid the sudden, last-minute realisation that you both need the car and don’t have any alternative transport in place!

 

Food

CFBFE8F090Image Credit: Jan Vašek

Ok, so food is already a big part of family life, but are you ready to get back into the routine of preparing packed lunches, cooking dinner and getting everyone to bed on time? When a new school year begins it’s a good idea to plan your meals and save time where you can.

32. Plan meals at the start of the week. Planning your meals at the start of the week will help to save time in those busy afternoons. It will also help make shopping easier and save you money – since you will have less food wasted.

33. Invest in a slow cooker. if you haven’t already, go out and buy one. It’s a great way to make easy meals without a lot of fuss, and there are plenty of recipes to choose from.

34. Keep meals simple during the week. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to make a banquet every evening. Leave the fancier meals for the weekend when there’s not so much to do.

35. Never forget breakfast! No matter how busy the day is, breakfast and the morning cuppa are crucial! Stick a bottle of milk in the freezer, to defrost overnight in case you run out.

36. Include a few treats. Every so often someone’s going to have a bad day that requires ice cream or chocolate, and that’s okay.

37. Check the school’s policy on healthy snacks. Many schools now have healthy snacking policies, so make sure you buy lunch time snacks that are allowed! Fruit or vegetable sticks with a healthy dip like fruit coulis or hummus can be exciting as well as healthy.

38. Set aside an evening for indulgence. Treat yourself to a takeaway, or have a meal at a restaurant at the end of a long week.

39. Use easy ingredients. Pasta and rice are ingredients that don’t take a lot of effort to cook and can be used in lots of different dishes. Try wholegrain varieties for additional health benefits.

40. Set a budget for food shops. If you have a set amount to spend you can look for cheaper brands and avoid spur of the moment purchases.

 

Conclusion

Term time can be one of the most interesting times of the year for families of all sizes! However, with a little organisation and communication, you’ll be able to make it through to the next holiday with (most of) your sanity intact. Good luck, and remember - it's never long until the next half term break!

Posted in DIY, Homemaking, Lifestyle on 9th Sep 2016

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