The start of the school year can sometimes send mums into a state of mixed emotions. Between the memories created and the desire to get them to school as fast as possible, there is always the juggle, pressure and mental load of all things school. From uniforms, to lunchboxes to other school mums and birthday parties; we have compiled the 33 tips for new school mums from the Australian School Mums community to help you get organized.
1. Follow the school or P&C’s Facebook page. Ideally they will share information and reminders about upcoming school events and adhoc notices.
2. Start a Facebook group / Whatsapp chat with other parents from your class or year. Again this is great for sharing information.
3. Suggest a park play after school, it’s a great way for the kids to burn some energy and get to know other parents.
4. Get involved with the school, whether it’s joining the P&C, volunteering in the canteen, or assisting with readers during class. No amount of notes can replicate the insights learnt.
5. Keep your contact details at school up to date so you are getting school notes and newsletters. Download the school or class app and turn notifications on.
6. As soon as a note comes home take a photo of it. If it goes missing or you have to return a section to school you will still have the details.
7. Once you receive communication about school events / special days, take a few minutes to upload the details into your online calendar or diary.
8. Return notes and permission slips the very next day. Pop them back into the bag as they arrive and you’ll avoid having a pile of paperwork on the kitchen bench.
9. Pack their lunchbox with food that your child likes. You don’t need to overcomplicate it. Food at school should be familiar. Try experimenting the new foods at home.
10. Do a Sunday bake up and divide what you cook into individual serves that can be packed for lunches ready for the week.
11. Start a set me up Sunday – ensure uniforms are ready, check your calendar for the week ahead and have piece of mind you have everything needed for lunchboxes.
12. Use the lunch box and drink bottle that works for your child, it’s not a competition for the and kids don’t care for the latest releases.
13. Practice with your child opening and shutting their lunch boxes and school bag. Ensure if you pack packaged foods that they can open them themselves.
14. Know that play time tends to overrule eating so your child may eat everything packed in their lunchbox. It simply means they may be hungrier after school.
15. Create a space for their uniforms (separate them into each school day if possible) to eliminate the need for finding the items across the wardrobe (and decrease the possibility of losing them).
Image courtesy of Tammy Wicks, ASM FB Member
16. Purchase the number of uniform sets aligned with how often you do your washing. If you do it weekly now, it’s going to get real tricky if you only start with two sets of uniforms.
17. Check out the second hand uniform shop (or local BSS pages) of items. The smaller sizes tend to be in excellent condition as they grow out of them before wearing them out.
18. Purchase uniforms and shoes as they need them. They may not necessarily need them every year, whereas some years they’ll need a few upgrades. #growthspurt
19. Ensure you have gold coins close by at all times, canteen day always sneaks up or a ‘day’ appears that they need it for. Keep a few in the car in case of emergencies (last minute recollection).
20. Find out what days are celebrated at school and stock up on plain coloured shirts relevant to those days when you see them; in two sizes (for this year and the next!). For example, Yellow for Harmony Day, their House colour for carnivals. Late night Kmart runs no more.
21. Check any vouchers offered in your state that you may be eligible for. This could amount of hundreds of dollars and ease some financial pressure.
22. Keep some costumes on hand for the occasional dress up day; think Book Week, What you want to be when you grow up, Mini Beasts. The costume box is gold.
23. Label everything. Or you will most probably lose it.
24. However many hats you are looking to purchase. Double it from the get go.
25. Store school photos and awards in a my school memories album as they arrive home. Nothing worse than losing hundreds of dollars of pictures paid for.
26. Don’t ever be afraid to advocate for your child. Speak to their teacher and/or Principal should anything come up
27. Looking to meet other parents? Head to school drop off / pick up 5 – 10 minutes ahead of the bell. An easy way to strike a conversation with others there.
28. Hang uniforms on hangers to dry. Decreases the need for any ironing.
29. Prep meals for the week in anticipation of meltdowns, tiredness and emotional overload. This allows more time for hugs.
30. You can save money on supplies by shopping via Back to School Guides – often filled with discounts.
31. After school pick up, ask open ended questions like ‘what made you smile today’, there’s a higher chance their reply won’t be a yes or no.
32. If you have any school related questions at all, post it in the ASM Community Facebook Group. You will always receive supportive answers and will most probably help out another like minded mum in the process.
33. Enjoy the process. The journey and try not to worry or feel overwhelmed. The little ones feed off the energy and this is truly an exciting time for them and you!
We would love to know if any of these starting school tips have helped you. Or perhaps you have any others that could help? Pop them below!