I don’t know about you, but it feels like the summer holidays went by very quickly, too quickly in fact…  Just a couple of weeks left before the beginning of another school year.  Back-to-school time often comes with some degree of anxiety and stress not only for the kids but also for their parents.  Getting used to new teachers, fitting in a new class, and dealing with inevitably more homework on one side.  Getting everyone and everything ready before school starts and finding the right balance with extra-curricular activities on the other side.

I know, it’s not particularly exciting especially if you are still in the holiday mood…  But well, we can’t escape it, can we?  So just take a deep breath, sit down for 5 minutes, and give me a chance to share my top 7 tips to set the whole family up for a smooth start and year.

1. Schedule a visit to your doctor to make sure your child’s immunisations are up to date. This information will likely be requested by the school as part of the child’s medical records.  Better get it out of the way now that your child has more free time.

2. Take stock. Check the school uniforms and shoes.  Are they in good condition?  Do they still fit?  What about the school bag?  Is it suitable for the new school year’s needs?  Is the size of the lunch box big enough for your child’s growing appetite?  Make a list and plan a shopping trip with your child.  If the school gives you a list of books and supplies to buy prior to the start of the school year, add that to your list.

3. Create a quiet yet conducive study area, preferably a space used solely for school work. Your child will be more focused if he or she studies in the same place every time.  It should be equipped with necessary supplies such as pens, paper, measurement tools, calculator, dictionary, etc. easily reachable from the chair without having to get up.  It should also have a good light and a comfortable yet well-structured chair suitable for your child’s age.  Get rid of the papers from the past school year if any and invest in trays or magazine holders to organise completed work, tests, and ongoing projects.

4. Designate a “launching pad” where everything that your child needs for school is gathered including schoolwork, diary, lunch box or canteen coupons or money, cap, laptop, change of clothes for PE, musical instrument, things for after-school activities, etc.  If it helps, have a checklist next to it.  Use images instead of words if your child is too young to read.  Make it your child’s responsibility to gather his or her things. That will avoid you from going frantically around your home in the morning to gather what’s needed!

Get Organised & Beyond Singapore Prepare New School Year

5. Review systems, schedules, and routines. For example, wake-up and bedtimes, daily or weekly TV and electronics allowance, what to do in the morning, what to prepare the night before, etc.  Make arrangements for after-school especially if you work.  Think of a system to deal with school paperwork – check out my blog post on how to organise kids’ schoolwork for some suggestions on this topic.  Make a list of lunch box contents that you can rotate every week or every two weeks.  Setting expectations and responsibilities from the start will save a lot of time and bring harmony to your home.

6. Adjust your child’s body clock (and maybe yours too!) by progressively going back to regular wake-up and bedtimes at least in the last week leading to the start of the new school year. That will avoid a lot of tiredness, crankiness, and arguments!

7. Coordinate the family’s calendar.  You will probably only be able to finalise it a few weeks into the new school year.  Clarify homework expectations with your child’s teachers, not only how long it will take but whether it will be due the next day or the following week.  Then assign a regular time for homework in your child’s schedule.  Decide on after-school activities taking into consideration everyone’s schedule and commitments.

Get Organised & Beyond Singapore Prepare New School Year

It is in my perspective always worthwhile to invest some time before the new school year starts getting ready for it so that the school year can run smoothly.  I hope the tips above have helped in that regard.  But tell me, what do you find the most difficult in getting your children organised for school?  I would be happy to dedicate a post specifically to those challenges.  So please feel free to leave a comment below.  In the meantime, I wish you and your child an excellent school year ahead!

Get organised and make room for life!

Nathalie

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