We’ve only just recovered from the chaos that was the festive season. Whew. Must we be thinking about back to school already?
At Casa Crew Captain, the opposite sentiment prevails. A big part of me can’t wait to hand the little treasures back over to their teachers. (This is not an act of cruelty to teachers, by the way. The kids act far nicer at school than they do at home).
If your household is anything like mine, perhaps your children are driving you crazy. The combination of being two weeks deep into the school holidays plus the post-Christmas blues is starting to manifest itself in bored restlessness and attempted siblicide.
The comedown from Christmas is especially harsh for kids, who generally haven’t needed to do much more than sit back, get fed and receive way too many noisy, cluttery and expensive presents (Santa having clearly disregarded the Naughty List once again – hmmmph).
Stuck On You are the back-to-school experts. We want to help make the process smoother for when that time comes, so here are our best tips. Let the countdown begin!
GET INTO GEAR!
Returning to rigid early morning school routines can be tough after a long summer of relaxed bedtimes and long lie-ins. The solution? As the end of holidays approach, wake up 10-15 minutes earlier each day. To provide extra motivation, create fun reasons to wake up earlier, e.g. trips to the beach or park.
To maintain a smooth routine once school has started, Stuck On You has a terrific range of diaries and planners to ensure stress-free mornings and solid homework habits.
NOT SO ENDLESS SUMMER
Even as a parent (for whom school signals easier times of the year), I still feel a tinge of sadness when the back to school ads start. It feels like summer is drawing to an end.
To take the sting out of summer’s end, remind the kids (and yourselves) that the summer weather will persist through at least the first month of back-to-school, which historically ends up being the hottest time of year. On those first few weekends of the school term, continue going to the beach, playing backyard cricket, going to summer festivals and all those other fun summery activities. Oh and don’t forget to slip, slop, slap!
LABEL IT OR LOSE IT!
Labelling is your best guarantee that your investment in back-to-school items will not end up languishing in a smelly lost property bin, or finding a new home in another child’s bag.
Labelling is especially important when there is unpredictable weather and the constant need to put on or take off layers. Stuck On You understands this pain quite well, being based in a town where the phrase “four seasons in one day” applies.
In particular, don’t forget to label those school hats during “No hat, no play” season, given how easily kids lose them (at the drop of a hat, hee hee).
GET THE KIDS INVOLVED IN LABELLING
Involve your kids in the labelling process so you can make back-to-school time fun for them and easier for you. Let them choose their own label designs, no matter how… quirky. That way, they’ll be more invested in their labelled goods – and less likely to lose them!
By the way, if you still can’t let go of the fact that your child didn’t choose that gorgeous art deco-like label design you were coveting, you can always order some labels for yourself. We’re not just about the kiddies you know – use our labels for home office files, kitchen jars, garage boxes.. anything you like, really!
LABEL ON THE FLY
Ever been about to run out the door, only to have a little voice announce that they need a costume for International Country Music Day? (17 September, FYI) As you hastily assemble some big hair and glitter pants – because your knowledge of country music doesn’t extend beyond the 80s – you realise that you actually want this getup to return home so you can repurpose it for Halloween/your office party/International Dress Like A Bee Gee Day (OK I made that last one up – but it should exist).
Therefore, it’s handy to have a stash of extra labels for all your unexpected labelling needs, from new readers to the next dress-up day.
LABEL ON THE SLY
If you have safety concerns about your child’s name being visible, or have an older child who prefers discreet labels, it’s a good idea to add extra labels on the inside of items such as bags.
TO GOOD HEALTH!
After a long summer of sunshine and fresh air, back to school time feels like we are throwing our precious little ones into a festering germ pit. Personalisation limits the spread of germs as kids are less likely to accidentally drink from the wrong drink bottle.
We also have Allergy Labels which help highlight your child’s allergy to others.
Get the kids to help plan their lunches and help with the shopping. Our bestselling Bento Boxes provide the perfect inspiration for fun and healthy lunchtimes. Channel your inner food goddess and make adorable carrot and cheese flowers or smiley rice clouds (for inspiration, see here). Or, if you’re feeling decidedly un-zen-like, throw in some strawberries and crackers. Either way is good!
NEW IS ALWAYS BETTER
Well not always. But if your kids are a bit anxious about having a new teacher and dealing with a new combination of classmates, tell them that a change is as good as a holiday. Just when they thought the school holidays would be over!
To build excitement about the changes the new school year will bring, find out what fun stuff their new teacher’s class got up to in previous years. Assure them that even if their good friends are now in a different classes, they can still retain that friendship and possible make new ones.
THE LAME GAME
Our last tip is a bit controversial, and potentially hard to pull off deliberately. It involves making the school holidays so boring that school looks like a bag of fun in comparison. I’ll give you my own real-life, accidental example.
Last year, for the first time ever, my kids were dying to go back to school after the big break. Why? I’ll give partial credit where it’s due, the kids’ school is fantastic.
But I suspect a significant part of this desperation to return to school was because that lot of school holidays was (and I quote) “the boringest ever”. In my defence, we’d just moved, we hadn’t made any solid new friendships yet and we were just finding our bearings. I also hadn’t had time to book vacation care so we had completely missed that boat too. Thinking back, while we did have a few fun outings, the holidays consisted mostly of staying at home with only each other, unpacking and cleaning. I call it character building. Others may call it cruelty to children.
My parenting conscience (aka that nagging witch) can’t bring itself to deliberately plan another lame school holiday.
But for the brave or lucky, it could work so give it a try. Plan a holiday full of homework tasks, garage cleaning, and watching paint dry (after they’ve finished painting of course).
If nothing else, it will teach kids to tolerate boredom and learn a few life skills.