It's the first week back to school and those lazy Summer days are but a long forgotten memory at this stage! Cue the stressful mornings, school runs and forgotten lunches. Getting back into the swing of things isn't going to be easy but don't get down; we have our top eight tips to not only survive, but completely conquer the first week back to school!
While making dinner the week before school, make some extra portions that you can freeze. If the stress does end up getting to you when school starts, then cooking dinner will be one chore you can check of your list of things to do! Try to freeze dinners that are easily reheated, like Lasagne or Shepherd's Pie. See here for some easily freezable recipe ideas.
Make getting ready for school a fun activity for your kids. Create a picture chart that outlines all of the tasks you expect them to do before it is time to leave for school. This list should include Brushing your Teeth, Shoes and Jacket, Lunch and Bag etc. When each task is completed, your child can stick a smiley face next to the task.
You can put your own spins on the chart if you want to get creative: make the chart into a race track where each child must race to the 'Finish Line'. Hang the chart in an easily accessible area, like the kitchen or the hallway, so that you can keep an eye on their progress without shouting the house down! This type of chart will make the morning routine fun and quick for both you and your kids and can also translate into an after school routine checklist. See here for some ideas.
Plan to treat your child to their favourite breakfast on their first day back to school. Whether it's making pancakes or a cheeky fry up, it can be doable if you can prepare everything you can the night before! See here for some delicious breakfast recipes that will give your child the energy to get through the school day.
Plan your child's lunches for the week ahead of time and stock your fridge accordingly! You don't need the stress of running out of ham or yoghurt mid week and being forced to run to the shops again. Check out some of these healthy and easy lunch recipes.
When your child returns home from school, ask them about their day. If you want to get more than one word answers, ask them questions like "What did you do for the day?" "Who are your new friends?" "Do you like your teacher and why?". If these questions don't work, ask "What was your favourite part of the day?". Clear a chunk of time out of your day to really get an idea of what your child's first impressions of school are.
Plan out where your child will do their homework, where their schoolbag, jacket and shoes will go etc. Try to clear some space in a quiet room with a desk where they can concentrate on their work without distractions. The kitchen would work well as you can help them as you get the dinner ready, just make sure that the television/radio is switched off!
You should also explain to your child where they are to put their things when they return home from school. This should be in a room separate from the living space, like a hallway or a mud room. Schoolbags alone take up so much room and kids do not always understand why you don't want a schoolbag in the middle of the kitchen floor. If you make your expectations clear from day one then you won't be tripping over bags too much throughout the year!
Even though the first week can be a nightmare, a cuddle with your child will lift both your spirits enormously. We prescribe at least two doses of cuddles a day, one before school, one after school and pretty much as much as you feel like it!
We hope these tips help you get through this stressful week! Do let us know if you have any ideas or tips by commenting below.