Parent Code Approved Hacks: Getting your kids back to school ready

Tips and tricks for how to get your kids back to school ready and prepared.

Busy mother of three, Jo Abi knows all too well the stress that comes with the end of the summer holidays and the beginning of the new school year. This year, she’s determined to be organized and keep one step ahead when it comes to getting the kids back to school ready and prepared.

She shares her top tips ranging from tech to lunchboxes to make the back to school transition easy and stress free.

“I’m 12 years into this parenting gig and every time I think I’m on top of everything, something happens to make me realise that I’m not. This year that thing is… high school.

Da, da, daaaaaaaa!

My first born, my baby, my beloved son starts high school next year. To add insult to injury my second born son, 8, is changing schools so he can access better education suited to his needs, and my little girl, who is 7, will be left behind at our original primary school, all alone.

As we physically and mentally prepare for what will be our most challenging school year to date, I plan to be super prepared and with this list hacks you will be too.”

Hack 1: The Colour Code
“That first year they were all in school I developed a colour-code system for each of them so they’d know which water bottle was theirs, lunch box, key chain, with the eldest assigned the colour green, my younger son using blue and my little girl was purple. Nothing gets confused or mixed up and it reduces their chances of fighting over things. Anything that cuts down on sibling squabbles works for me. I’ve even colour-coded their devices, towels, everything. I’d put them in colour-coded t-shirts if I was allowed (the eldest said that was taking it too far). But I do order labels in these colours and label absolutely everything with them including stationary and bags. It makes it much easier when all school bags are dark blue – why is that? – and they know which one to quickly grab as they rush out the front door.”

Hack 2: The Food Code.
“I know of kids who are happy eating the same foods 365 days a year and I have one of those, but two whose food choices change like the wind. My younger son, is the one who likes all the same foods so I can prepare all his food weeks in advance by packing his recess and just adding fruit each day and individually packing and freezing his bread rolls. The other two require weekly sessions during which they tell me which foods they want and those they are sick of. Those conversations save time, money and sanity. Remember to ask what your kids want to eat so nothing is wasted.”

Hack 3: The Shopping Code
“Children will cost you a fortune every time you take them shopping, no matter how many times you’ve explained that you are “only going to the shops for school supplies” and they must not “ask for anything else”. What I do now is I take them to their favourite fancy-schmancy stationary store (Typo, Smiggle, Kikki K) and let them choose one or two things. Then one night before the school year begins, when they are fast asleep, I duck out to the nearest affordable store and buy the rest of it at bargain prices, stocking up so I have enough to replenish their school supplies during the year. Pester power, neutralised.”

Hack 4: The Friend Code
“Keeping up the kid’s friendships during the school holidays is KEY to ensuring they look forward to returning to school. Also, keeping them busy is another tip. Never let them get too relaxed. If you let them fall into a pattern where they sleep in, do much of nothing and forget their real lives, returning to school can be a bit of a shock. By organizing lots of friend catch ups and activities, and sticking to some semblance of a schedule you are ensuring they are still in a routine so the school routine isn’t too different, and they will look forward to seeing their friends at school so they don’t complain (too much) that first day back at school.”

Hack 5: The Technology Code
“I was so spoiled with my three children all at the same school. One drop off, one bus home, one location where I’d picture them checking in with each other, borrowing money off each other and helping each other. And now they’ll be scattered in three different directions, but they’ll be fully wired with smart phones so I can track their whereabouts at any time of the day.

My son already has a smart phone and I keep tabs on him using Family Map. My youngest children have just received theirs and we’ve been practicing texting. I just love the idea that if they need me, they can text me or call me and I love being able to check in with them on the app. It’s strangely comforting seeing their little photo hovering over a location on a map, exactly where they are meant to be and not too far from home if I zoom out a little.”

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