12 tips for a better school year
By Alex Brooks |
Best year ahead at school

Nothing is quite as thrilling - or challenging - as the beginning of a new school year. While your kids might be worried or excited about new friends and new teachers, mums end up stuck with the tasks of keeping organised, creating solid routines and supporting children to be their best.

Here are Kidspot's back-to-school tips on everything from morning strategies, homework helpers, lunch box solutions and easy organisation tips that will end up moving mum to the head of the class.


Back to school tip #1: Keep lunch boxes easy (for mum)

While we all want to love and nurture our children by packing the best and most exciting lunchbox possible, we also need to balance our aspirations against reality. Making sure morning routines are achievable and easy is the key to a successful lunchbox, not the fanciness of your pinwheel sandwiches. It takes some time to find the right snack ideas the kids will love and you will find easy to prepare while there are other priorities to attend to.

Click here for lunchbox nutrition and inspiration.

Back to school tip #2: Create a laundry routine that works

Washing. Oh so much laundry, washing and ironing to do. School brings new laundry management routines to stop dirty clothes baskets exploding before you get the chance to wash all those stained uniforms and dirty socks.

Conquer the laundry pile in three easy steps.


Back to school tip #3: Make mornings organised

Trying to get out of the door on time when a school bell or work commitments beckon makes for a stressful time before 9am. Clever mums know that a morning routine that works is the key to starting the day happy, prepared and ready to leave the house with a smile.

The on time back to school morning routine


Back to school tip #4: House work during term time should be eased

A busy school year means less time washing the floors and tidying so you can spend time where it really counts. That might mean making extra minutes for homework help, reading the reader or sorting out the sports gear.

Here are some easy ways to streamline other tasks to make room for other things you want to do: Click here for clean up tips.


Back to school tip #5: Keep time

Whether you're trying to speed your kids up (to get them out the door, say) or slow them down (as they practice reading), clocks become a useful device once the kids reach school age. Explaining time, routines and showing the children how to read the time for themselves will give your kids the power to keep themselves organised (without nagging from you).


Back to school tip #6: Ready, set breakfast

A healthy nutritious breakfast not only puts kids in the right mood for learning, but blesses mothers with a righteous feeling of success that they managed to have their children eat well at the right time of day. Kids as young as 4 or 5 can get a bowl of cold cereal for themselves, and as they get older they can learn to safely use the toaster or microwave.

Try these breakfast ideas for quick, healthy starts to the school day: Breakfast Ideas


Back to school tip #7: Problems are a learning experience

Term time at school isn't always perfect and our children don't always behave like angels or the genius we had hoped they would be. School rules, expectations and social pressures can be too much for our kids and it's not uncommon for problems to rear their head once children settle in to the school year. It can be anything from bullies to learning problems to physical problems that come up and unsettle us - be ready to embrace them!

Find out more about difficulties at school.


Back to school tip #8: You are the best teacher

Learning always starts at home and your child's mood affects how well he learns. A positive outlook is the best thing you can inspire in your children to keep them performing well at school and willing to tackle their homework.

Tips and techniques for better learning.


Back to school tip #9: Labels, names and ownership

Label all your child's belongings including the library bag and especially the school hat. Encourage your child to dress themselves so they can manage things like taking jumpers or coats on and off at school. Explain the concept of "lost property" to your kids, so they know how to find lost items on their own. Then cross your fingers and hope they have listened to you!


Back to school tip #10:Rules and behaviour

Schools have a range of approaches to reinforce the good behaviour measures taught by parents - so learn what they are and make sure you can back them up at home! For students in the early years the focus will be on learning to work cooperatively with others and to follow instructions from the teacher. It's a mother's job to remind and reinforce the school rules at home so kids understand why certain actions are unacceptable.


Back to school tip #11:Keep your head around lice

Head lice and nits are a fact of school life, and you will be lucky if you manage to avoid them. If an outbreak of head lice does occur at school it can be annoying but not harmful to your child's health. However to avoid an outbreak across a class of students, schools will request parents to remove and treat children with evidence of head lice.

Try these tips to banish and control head lice


Back to school tip#12: Remember the night before

Murphy's law states that if something can go wrong, it will. Avoid the stresses of the first morning of school by laying out clothes (including underwear, socks and shoes) the night before. Have a bottle of sunscreen nearby to apply in the morning. Pack the school bag and include a spare pair of underpants and socks in a plastic bag in case of any toilet accidents. Ensure your camera is ready to take first day of school photos, that the batteries are charged and that it's stocked with fresh film or an SD card. Charge up your mobile phone in case the camera fails!


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This story was written by Alex Brooks for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading back to school resource.

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