Tuesday, 9 March 2021

PARENTHOOD: Organisational Tips for Going Back to School after Lockdown

PARENTHOOD: Organisational Tips for Going Back to School after Lockdown
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Three months into 2021 and we are finally starting to see the end of the third lockdown in the UK and the second lockdown that involved having all schools closed to the majority of pupils. The last time our children were at school was in 2020, so it is fair to say WELL DONE to everyone who has just got through the past few months of home learning. It's been a rollercoaster to say the least, but now that my eldest is back at school and my middle child is back at pre-school the house is a lot quieter. I have to admit I miss the chaos, the feeling of being so involved in Isabella's learning and the extra 'bonus' time together, but seeing them with their friends again made me realise how important school/pre-school is for them. 

It's been a while since so many of us have been in the school drop off/pick up routine, so I thought I'd put together a few organisational tips that can help stay on top of everything as our children return to some kind of 'normal' life at school. Personally, I love a good routine and that really is the backbone to our approach to parenthood. Finding a routine that works for you and your family can make life run so much more smoothly in my experience. But whether you're a fan of routine or prefer to go with the flow hopefully these little tips and tricks will help make the adjustment back to the school routine after lockdown easier.
1) Take their own water bottle to school - The risk of Covid-19 means that a lot of schools are encouraging parents to provide their child with their own water bottle, which goes home with them everyday and returns to school in the morning. This helps to limit the spread of any infections or cross-contamination and means that teaching staff aren't having to clean/refill every pupil's water bottle. Smiggle have a very comprehensive range of water bottles for all requirements, including roll-up silicone ones, stainless steel ones, Go Junior ones, Big Adventures Teeny Tiny Strap ones and flip top spout ones
2) Set out packed lunches the night before - Preparing lunchboxes the night before is always one of those tasks we often feel too tired to do, but when you do it it is so worth it! I'll make sandwiches, chop up any fruit or vegetables, add a packet of crisps or some mini crackers and portion out a pudding, so that when it comes to the morning rush all I've got to do it quickly pop it into their Galaxy Attach Square Lunchbox from Smiggle. We love this style of lunchbox for both school and pre-school because it is compact enough to easily be carried or fit under the pushchair, but has plenty of space for all of their lunch and even has a functional loop feature that enables you to attach the lunchbox to a bookbag, scooter, bike, backpack etc. 
3) Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier -  I know, I know. We all want and need more sleep, but by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier than you would usually do gives you what I like to call a 'grace period'. It is time to quickly get ready by yourself before the children all wake up or set out breakfast in peace or even snooze the alarm to start the day more gradually. However you use the extra 15 minutes your future self will be grateful for it. 
4) Put an initial keyring on bookbag or backpack - This is a tip that Isabella's school gave us and it is genius if you ask me. Attach an initial keyring or an easily recognisable keyring to your child's bookbag and it makes it so much easier to find within a pile of otherwise identical bookbags. Smiggle is always our 'go-to' place for fun initial keyrings and best of all they are often on offer too! Currently in their keyring range they have: Scented Shimmy Unicorn, Mermaid Gem, Dino Scented, Unicorn Gem, Goal Football, Spinning Heart, Frozen II and Star Wars First Order Scented Keyring. All of which are available in every letter of the alphabet, so are a quick and easy way to personalise your child's bookbag, lunch bag, backpack or pencil case. 
5) Set out school uniform the night before - This is an absolute must in our house because the girls will get themselves dressed while I'm getting ready in the morning, which ultimately means we end up on time for the school run. If I was on top form of organisation then on Sunday night I would have five hangers with five sets of uniform ready for the week ahead. I rarely ever do this (always with the hope that parts of Isabella's school uniform will be able to be worn more than one day at a time), but it would save time each night/morning. 
6) Keep pencil cases filled up - Personally I find the little jobs do really mount up, consequently taking up a lot of time we simply don't have during the busy morning and afternoon rush. Keeping your child's pencil case filled up, whether it be for homework or taking to school, can help keep them engaged and ready to learn. Smiggle's Hardtop Pencil Case range (this is the Galaxy Double Up Hardtop Pencil Case) is always expanding and we love how hardwearing they are. We've had one for a few years now and would always fill it will paper, card games, crayons, pens etc. to take as entertainment for the children when we went out for meals. They are compact enough to carry around easily, but can fit a surprising amount in - one to remember for when the restaurants finally open again. I've also found that letting Isabella use fun pens/pencils for her homework makes her a lot more willing to get it done, which is why she loves using these Scented Gel Pens. The set has 30 different gel pens in from neons to glitters to pastels and brights; every colour that could possibly be needed. 
7) Take antibacterial hand gel to school drop off/pick up - You could either attach a little container of antibacterial hand gel to your child's bookbag or backpack for easy access or keep one in your coat pocket/under the pushchair etc. for the school run. When it comes to things like this it is always each to their own, but now during the school run all adults have to wear a face covering and to be extra safe your could encourage your child/ren to use a squirt of hand gel before and after school. It's just an extra precaution to help protect not only our own children, but also their friends, peers and staff within school. 
8) Get reading or homework done as soon as possible - After the first lockdown and the schools being shut for so many months I really noticed how tired Isabella got once back in the school routine last September. We have experience of returning to school after a lockdown now, so why not use that to our advantage and to help predict how our children will be feeling. We like to try and get all reading and homework done straight after school, as it is when Isabella is the most focused. However, you may find that your child reads best just before bed or in the morning over breakfast; simply find what works for them and stick to it as much as possible. 
9) Have wind down time every day - Just as it is important to get school work done it is also important to allow our children to relax, unwind and have some calm time after a busy day at school. We have always been relatively strict when it comes to screen-time for various reasons, but just as much as I like to relax in the evening by watching television, so does Isabella. She also loves to play reading or maths games on the tablet or read a magazine on Readly, which is where these Classic Foldable Headphones are really handy. They have a child-friendly volume limit, tangle-free cord, are foldable so ideal for when we can travel again and have an adjustable headband. 
10) Prepare snacks for after school - I think we're all the same when it comes to our children coming home from school so hungry! While you're preparing the packed lunches the night before or whenever is most suitable having some healthy snacks ready for when your child/ren come home from school makes it slightly less of a rush. The Big Adventure Snack N Stack Containers x4 are really handy for storing a range of snack options and can be separated into individual snack pots too. Some of our go-to snacks for after school are crackers with cheese, apple slices with peanut butter, raisin and cinnamon bagel, yogurt with rice cakes etc. 
I really hope those tips and tricks help make the return to the school routine even a little bit easier. Once again, well done for getting through home learning round two...you did it!! 

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x
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9 comments

  1. Great advice! My girls came home very tired yesterday and I know it will take a while to get back into the routine.

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  2. This is perfect as my son is back to school tomorrow. I am sending him up right now to check he has everything ready!! I did the uniform but didn't even think about the rest of it! Thank you x

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  3. I always like to try to get things sorted the night before. Erin really needs a new drinks bottle soon though. She wants something really cool.

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  4. My kids love Smiggle. So far my boys are back in and my daughter goes back tomorrow, we have been very organised so far and I am hoping it continues.

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  5. Great tips! Organisation is definitely the name of the game with getting everthying the night before and every thing done earlier. My daughter has been so exhausted since she has been back bless her! My daughter is always fully Smiggled up for school too!

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  6. My kids are back to school but they are not allowed to take bags and lunchboxes in. We have to send in lunch in a paper bag

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  7. It's uniforms that cause us the problem... with four in uniform it's a challenge making sure they're all in the right place at the right time.

    Smiggle make awesome lunchboxes though. :)

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