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Share your school morning hacks with Arla Big Milk – chance to win £300 voucher!NOW CLOSED(240 Posts)
Whether you’re celebrating or commiserating, it will soon be time to go back to school. For some, it will be the first time their DCs put on their (slightly too large) school uniforms and head off into primary school. To make the new routine a little easier for first-time school mums, Arla wants to know what clever tricks and hacks you use to make everything run a little smoother during your own school week.
Here’s what Arla has to say: 'Being a parent is often unpredictable and getting your little one the nutrients they need isn’t always easy. That’s why Arla Big Milk has been developed to specifically meet the needs of growing children from ages one to five*, enriched with essential nutrients to help support children’s growth and development as part of their balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Arla Big Milk ‘helping your little ones become big ones’
If your DC is starting school this September, what do you plan to do to prepare them (and yourself!) for the change? Are you going to rehearse the school routine, or the school run? Do you have a plan to cope with your own emotions on their first day?
If you already been there and done it - once that scary first day was out of the way how did you keep the momentum going? Did you turn getting ready for school into a fun challenge, with strict time limits and music? Perhaps you’re a stickler for getting lunches, uniforms and bags prepared and set out the night before, ready for the day ahead? Do you end up resorting to good old bribery to get the kids out of the door on time?
Whatever your tip or hack is, Arla want to hear about it, so post a comment below. Everyone who posts will be entered into a prize draw where one Mumsnetter will receive a £300 Love2Shop voucher.
Insight T&Cs Apply
*The Department of Health recommends that children at the age of one move onto fresh whole cows’ milk and that their diets are supplemented with additional Vitamin, A, D and Iron
Label EVERYTHING. It WILL go missing.
and even if you label it all you probably wont get it back anyway
Make sure everything is organised the night before - all bags ready, food in the fridge packed and sorted, make sure you know when they need the PE kit or when they have 'show and tell'.
Make sure they know to tell their teacher if they don't understand something or if they are upset or if they are bullied.
If they struggle to get ready in time to go in the morning start a sticker board so they get one for each time they leave on time and at the end of a month they get a small present if they have managed it 90% of the time.
On the first day back we ensure that everything is ready the night before, PE kit, packed lunch if needed, pencil case etc. We try and stick to this but it usually slides after a few weeks.
I pin the school dinner menu to the kitchen door so I can check if she will eat it that day or if she will need a packed lunch
Packed lunches made the night before! Everything labeled. Alarm clocks set!
Yes to (please, please) label everything; I am always amazed by the number of unlabelled sweatshirts we end up with in the office... And expensive, branded coats that stay there for months on end because we don't know who they belong to.
I forget who inspired this concept on MN, but mine is 'the box of last resort'. Spare school socks (even if the ones just grown out of), the grown out of/ trashed pair of school shoes (for when they mysteriously go missing, or only one is to be found), tie from second hand shop, envelopes, pen, cash (but I neeeed £1.35 in exact money for the lizard rescue) - anything that goes missing and will be needed then.
Use your phone to take a photo of school letters as you get them.
Then when you're rushing around in the morning trying to remember if today's a dress-up day or if they need 50p, you don't have to search for the relevant letter. It's already on your phone.
Unless you're like me and have probably also forgotten where you left your phone.
Label everything, but on items where the space for the name is underneath the tag, ignore it and write on top of the tag.
If you have more than one child, label with the surname +- initial.
Make sandwiches the night before.
Planning is your friend, whether you prefer a Google calendar or a paper one. Put dates of trips and what is needed, plus details of things like non uniform day on as you get them. Just remember to check the calendar before you leave the house, preferably the night before.
Empty your child's book bag in the evening after getting back from school. It avoids nasty shocks discovering what you were meant to have organized just as you leave the house. One if my children still thinks the point we walk out of the door is a good time to drop these bombshells on me.
Reception children are exhausted and hungry after school, for at least the first half term in my experience. Feed them as soon as you get in or take a snack. And sim for a low key after school time.
My DD is starting this September. I've already labelled (almost) all of her clothes. She goes to the nursery attached to the school she is starting, so it hopefully won't be quite as difficult for her in the first day, as she is already familiar with the building & walk to school. She will be on the free school meals for the first couple of years, but after that, if she wants packed lunches, they will be prepared with mine & DH's the night before. I find Pinterest quite useful for lunchbox ideas - for kids & adults.
When I was working, getting everything ready the night before made life a lot easier in the morning.
Top tips are having a hook for book bags to be kept on and a shoe rack for school shoes so they don't wander off!
And a calendar is essential to keep track of deadlines, library days and after school events!
My Dc is starting in September. I have bought all uniform already. Need to label it I write in permanent marker on the clothes as labels can be cut out. I plan on getting all equipment bag and uniform sorted the night before. I have a change jar just for school they always want money. Pe kit in bag at all times they always change the day. When I get letters I write them into the calander and put a reminder on phone right away. I always have a snack on hand for picking Dc up from school always ravenous when school ends. My child knows to bring everything home each day most children just leave bags there.
Take photos of school letters, and share them on class FB group.
Put details into family calendar immediately (dH and I share online calendar, so he is a back up reminder as he sees it in his calendar too).
Use class FB to remind each other of dress down days and finding lost sweatshirts.
My son goes to school this year. I'm really concerned how I'm going to fit my new work around it. I've worked weekends from after maternity leave and now I'm doing mon-fri 9.30-5. I'm not scared of the school run as he's been at morning school nursery for a year. But I'm worried how I will fit homework, tea times, school activity days in. Husband is not reliable for any of it.
I feel it's going to be a struggle/juggle so I'm checking here for tips
- Set 2 alarm clocks ( one not reliant on mains electricity as there will be a power cut at some point, believe me)
- The night before leave full sets of uniform including pants and socks in piles per child. Saves time and avoids them all grabbing for the wrong sizes and having to swap back.
- Leave shoes ready in pairs by the door and coats ganging ready, to avoid shouts of "Muuuuuuuuum, I can only find one shoe" and subsequent delays.
- Agree where car keys should be left (so your husband doesn't go to work with them in his pocket grrrrrr!
- Obviously label everything or failing that buy a load of Sharpies. More importantly, tell the kids that if they lose something, it is their job to find it- makes them be that little bit more careful ahem.
- Start a coin jar for the endless number of times they will need 50p for the cake sale or £1 for a sponsored charity walk around the playground.
- Synchronise your phone calendar and the school diary if you can, to save endless email searches for the right communication.
- Always have a snack either in your fat or the car at pick up time, or the journey home will be a nightmare of "But I'm staaaaaaarving.
- If they need to take a library book, instrument, empty cereal box or other 'special item', put a post it note on the front door as a reminder. Also, don't assume you will have an empty 2L bottle etc at the right time- plan ahead!
- Remember to enthuse over the endless junk models your kids bring home and display for a suitable amount of time before recycling (or take a picture first if it's halfway decent).
- Regularly check your child's book bag and coat pockets for special stones, pine cones and other delightful objects they have collected in the playground!
Expect to be told nothing by your child!!
Have random junk ready for a craft challenge at a moments notice.
Ditto random fancy dress.
Root through the book bag for the smallest slip of paper at the bottom rant tells you about dress down day the following day/birthday invitations etc...
Put all events of planner.
Uniforms out the night before.
Competition - who can get dressed the fastest.
Routine. Everything has a time, place and order.
Once established it is so much easier and works with teens too.
Clothes out the night before and noone allowed downstairs before they are dressed. Breakfast prepared and on the table the night before, just add milk. Set an alarm for 10 minutes before due to leave and thats when shoes on, jackets on etc
Do stuff as soon as you get it (e.g. respond to invites, complete slips). Add all dates to calendars.
Get everything ready the night before - packed lunch, uniform and book bag. My very organised teacher friend sets her table ready for breakfast with spoons, bowls, cereals too!
A family calendar is a must for all the party invitations, fancy dress days, school trips. Write them on straight away and buy gifts and costumes well in advance to avoid last minute panic.
Remember those first few weeks are exhausting for DC. They will be tired and grumpy so allow extra time for getting ready in the morning and have an after school snack ready for them as soon as they come out of school.
Chalkboard in the kitchen with a space for every day, clearly labelled with when PE kit needs to be taken in and who has activities after school.
Keep yoghurt sticks or tubes in the freezer - take them out in the morning for packed lunch and they keep the rest of the items cool and have defrosted by lunchtime.
Sunday night is organising night.
5 uniforms neatly lined up in the wardrobe with knickers and socks on the hanger.
PE kit and school bag prepped.
Diary checked for any events at school and any money needed sorted into envelopes and labelled. Everything from the newsletter is put into the diary on he Friday when it arrives.
All kit for after school activities put in bags and in day order on the back of the kitchen door so they can be grabbed on the way out.
Takes about half an hour on a Sunday but saves hours of arguing.
Other things we do:
When kit is washed (like swimming gear) as soon as it's dried it's put back in the swimming bag with a snack and a carton of drink.
Homework is done on a Saturday morning before activities (early riser) and put straight back into the school bag.
And yes to labelling everything (we write in the hem in sharpie) and checking bag every night.
Have little boxes that house snacks, one for fruit/veg, one for dairy, one for treat etc.
Use a loaf of bread to make sandwiches and put in the freezer (they defrost by lunch if taken out when you wake up)
Each child chooses their own lunch, one thing from each box and a sandwich from the freezer. Need supervising at first to make sure they take something from each, only one thing, remember a sandwich etc but then they can do it themselves from a young age and there isn't any moaning about not liking it because they chose it only a few hours earlier
Make sure as many things as possible are dealt with before the big day - so pencil case/bag packed and kid familiar with all contents of bag and where to find them. School run rehearsed if it's different from where nursery is. Uniform ironed. Hair style discussed and decided so less chance of huffs in the morning. Photos in uniform already taken so not too much time spent on actual first day photos. 'Starting school' books read to help prepare, but careful not to make a massive deal about it (this goes for with the photo taking too). Have a wee thing to look forward to in the afternoon so child has something else to think about in case of nerves. No hints for stopping the tears, I'm crap at that!
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