It’s bye-bye summer, hello school year! The beginning of the school year is full of bitter-sweet moments and excitement. It can be hard to get back into a routine. Just a few small changes around the house can make this time a little less hectic.
Set up a homework zone
Make it a little by easier to get back into the rhythm of doing homework by creating a quiet space with everything at hand, writing equipment, books and folders. Older children appreciate a quiet desk in their own bedroom but younger ones might prefer to work closer to you at the kitchen table. You can dedicate an easy to reach drawer or shelf where everything can be stored.
Give bedrooms a mini makeover
If your child is making a big transition this year , moving from the Infants to Junior School or maybe to secondary school, it can be nice to mark this milestone with a mini-makeover, reflecting the child new status. Even small changes can make a big impact: put up a map or new poster, new bedding to reflect the child new interests. If a child is becoming old enough to read on his own at bedtime, consider new lighting. Children moving up to secondary school might prefer more privacy and independence and could benefit from a new homework corner in their room with shelving and a simple desk to work a
Record important dates on the calendar
With school holidays, birthdays, extracurricular activities, dentist appointments, keeping the family’s schedule is a bit of a nightmare. Take the time to note all important dates BEFORE the mad rush at the beginning of the school year. Digital calendars are brilliant at keeping you straight but it is still a good idea to have a family calendar on the wall for family members to check on their own schedules. It’s a good idea to involve younger children in this task and as they grow and become independent, they can take more responsibilities in checking the calendar.
Get out of the door quicker by keeping essentials in the hallway
It is easier to keep spares of some items where you actually use them, in the hallway. Think of all the times you were nearly ready to leave when you discovered that your youngest hadn’t brushed her hair and you had to jog up the stairs to grab all the necessary. Run through your family’s morning routine to decide what essentials to keep in baskets, drawers, shelves and hooks: spare money for lunches, a pen for signing forms, sunscreen, a comb, hair clips, wet wipes to vanish a chocolate moustache…It’s also a really good place where to hang a large mirror.
Create storage space for each child in your hallway
If you have a boot room with separate cupboards, cubbyholes or lockers for each family member, it is easy to keep everything tidy and out of sight, but even the tiniest hallway can be smartly organised by allocating a hook and a crate or basket for each family member to hang and drop their belongings BEFORE they untidy the rest of the house. This will make finding school shoes, blazers, keys and backpacks a lot easier in the morning. The only flaw in this system is that family members could be tempted to just dump anything in their dedicated spot. To avoid this, aim to have each person de-clutter his space once a week.
Plan ahead for the paper deluge
Even in the digital age, it is amazing to see the sudden surge of school newsletters, exam schedules, drawings, booklets over-spilling on kitchen worktops, hallway tables, even chairs. Take immediate action to contain over-spills. You will never regret investing in a filing cabinet. These can be a little boring and sterile-looking but what is to stop you spraying it any colour you like? If you don’t have the space, you can dedicate a folder or magazine file for each child to store artwork, newsletters, reports... Newsletters can be discarded as soon as they have been read and important dates recorded. Our settee used to be a black hole for worksheets and reading books. To avoid a frantic search for these the next morning, it is good to have a dedicated shelf where your children can place their reading books and worksheets, as soon as they come home.