Parenting

Tips for a painless school week

Get on track with these awesome hacks!

The shoes are polished, the lunch boxes are ready and the exercise books will soon be covered (eek!) – but that’s just the first day! We’ve compiled a list of great hacks to get you and your kids through every school week…

DO YOUR KIDS’ HAIR DURING BREAKFAST

Young children are notoriously slow to eat breakfast, so use the fact they’re already sitting to brush and style their hair.

HOMEWORK STATIONS

Designate an area for your kids to do their homework, and fill a container with pencils, scissors, rubbers, crayons, glue and a stapler so they have everything they need.

MAKE A PLAYLIST

So many kids drag their heels in the morning, so try making a playlist of their favourite songs, with the goal being to complete one task – get dressed, brush their teeth, pack their bag – for each song. Obviously choose short songs!

KEEP A WET WEATHER BASKET

Trying to find umbrellas and raincoats when it’s raining can slow you down, so keep everything in one basket that you can pull out last minute. Add mittens and scarves for winter.

PUT CLOTHES ON LAST

Little kids are prone to dropping food or toothpaste on their clothes, so get them to have breakfast and brush their teeth before they get dressed.

CHECK SCHOOL BAGS

Leaving it until the morning creates stress. Get organised by removing squashed food, school notes and artwork after school.

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NO SCREENS BEFORE SCHOOL

If it’s easy for you to get sucked in by Instagram, imagine how hard it must be for kids to stay on task if they have access to devices. Make a family-wide ban for easier mornings.

ENCOURAGE LOCKER ORGANISATION

High school kids often have lockers that become a repository for their lunch box containers and stray papers. Buy stackable locker shelves so they can keep their belongings in order.

BUILD IN A BREATHER

If you drive your kids to school, leave 10 minutes earlier and park nearby. Spend five minutes listening to a meditation or mindfulness app, then kiss your kids goodbye knowing they – and you – are heading into the day full of gratitude and calm.

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PRE-SLICE APPLES

This apple hack might be good for young kids. Slice an apple, then put it back together with an elastic band to stop slices from going brown.

KEEP A CHART

By keeping school-related notes in one place, kids can see and be part of the weekly organisation. I’m a fan of the Justick Mini ($99.95, justickaustralia.com.au), a noticeboard you can write on that also has electro adhesion technology to stick up photos, notes and invitations.

PUT A PAPER HEART IN THEIR LUNCH BOXES

Ever since my kids started school, I’ve periodically put a red paper heart in their lunch boxes, particularly if I know they’re having a hard time.

SANDWICH SUSHI

Kids get bored with sandwiches, so instead, roll up tuna, chicken, cheese or salad in a sandwich and cut it into ‘sushi’ slices. STUFF-UPS AS

TEACHING MOMENTS

If your child forgets their sports uniform or a mufti day, don’t panic. Welcome it as a learning experience. What steps will they take to solve the problem? How much does it really matter? Resilience is built from the bad days, not the good. 

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