I meant to write this post over a month ago. I was all organised back then and created the graphics to go with it and everything. I just didn’t manage to actually write the thing.
So the title feels slightly off given the fact that we’re now almost at the autumn half term. But I’m just going with it.
The way things are this year, I suppose we could all use any help we can get on getting on top of things and making life easier for ourselves. Especially when it comes to juggling everything involved with having school-age children.
So, better late than never, here are 5 habits that you might want to develop for the new school year. Or for any time in the school year!
Get things ready the night before.
This is possibly the best habit you can get into to make life easier during term time.
Get as much as possible packed and ready to go, the night before.
Make up packed lunch boxes.
Get clean school uniform laid out. This is particularly useful at the moment when, if your school is like ours, the children need to wear a fresh set of clothes each day, as well as wearing PE kit to school on PE days.
Pick out clothes for yourself and put them out ready to throw on in the morning.
Gather any homework folders and reading books that need to be returned and pop them by the front door.
Basically get as much as possible done and ready to grab and go in the morning, so you don’t have as much rushing around to do before the school run.
Designate a homework day
Pick a day that works for your family for homework to be done and then stick to that day each week.
You might find that what works best for you and your children is to get all their homework completed on the day it’s sent home from school.
Or you might find that designating a different day for each piece of work is better. In our family, for example, the homework folders come home on a Thursday so we might do maths that evening, reading on Saturday and then practice spellings on Monday evening, before it all goes back to school on Tuesday.
Get (and use!) a family calendar
There is so much to keep track of and remember when you have school-age children, and a big family calendar is one of the best tools you can get to keep on top of everything.
You can get calendars that have a column for each member of the family so you can write everyone’s different activities and so on in their own space so it’s nice and clear.
Now, at the moment there might not be the usual after school clubs, playdates and extra-curricular activities going on that would normally fill up your family calendar. But there are still so many things you can note on there to make sure you stay organised.
You can note down the days that homework folders need to be returned to school, the days that the children need to go to school already dressed for PE, as well as reminders about changes to drop off and pick up times and different routes you might need to take around the school.
Find a regular time to talk about your day
Things can be really manic on school days as you rush around making sure everything gets done and nothing gets forgotten, but one thing really worth making time for is talking to your children about their day.
It can be ridiculously hard to get some children to talk about what they’ve done in school, but if you start to build a routine around chatting about your days at the same time, or in the same place, each day they should start to open up.
You might find that the best time to talk is on the way home from school. Or it might be at the dinner table if you all sit and eat together. Or you might find that your child finds it easiest to open up at bedtime.
The time you choose doesn’t really matter, just try and make it around the same time each day.
And if your child is really reluctant to answer the open-ended question of ‘what did you do today?’, then try my ‘3 things’ trick.
I ask my children to tell me 1 thing they learnt about, 1 good thing that made them happy and 1 not so good thing about their day, and most of the time this really helps me find out more about how their days have been.
Eat well and sleep well
Life during the school year is so busy, we all need as much energy as possible.
So little things like making sure everyone eats something decent for breakfast are really quite important.
Another thing that can have a big impact on keeping energy levels up is staying hydrated, so encourage your children to take a water bottle to school with them and to keep drinking through the day.
The last habit that’s worth developing for the school year is setting up a good bedtime routine. We all need some sort of routine to help wind our minds and bodies down ready for sleep. So think about limiting screen time after a certain time in the evening, giving your child a warm milky drink before they head upstairs, and reading together or encouraging them to read in bed for a bit before turning off the light.
Hopefully if you can build these habits into your life they’ll help make things just that little bit easier during the school year and help the whole family feel a bit calmer, happier and more organised.
How many of these things do you already do?
Are there any other habits that you would recommend or tips you have for making life easier during the school year?