The ultimate back to school guide for busy single mums

Back to school | Beanstalk Mums

Not all superheroes wear capes.

However, we do all have a few secret weapons to help us through our lives.

My fellow superheroes know that the beginning of the year presents a few challenges which require extra super powers. I am talking about BACK TO SCHOOL PREP!

Back to school help

Stick to the schedule

Organising yourself feels awesome. You get a new diary, a new pen, some sticky notes, and convince yourself this is what your new life will be like. After a few days you find that new diary in the bottom of your handbag or under a pile of clutter in the kitchen and you think to yourself, just accept you won’t be organised.

BUT WAIT! The key to getting something done is to see it every day and work towards it. A family noticeboard in a common area like a kitchen or hallway can help keep you and your family organised. We are obsessed with the Justick notice board in our house. With new electro-adhesion technology, invitations and school memos stick to the board without pins or sticky tape and the clear overlay allows notes to be scribbled down and weekly goals be set out and ticked off! It is also super-handy to help your kids organise their homework.

No more questions about the schedule or plan for the day as we all know to check the board first. Plus, with each new week you simply erase your notes and start again – cutting down waste as a bonus.

Ready, set, prep for back to school

The stress of a weekday morning can sometimes be too much to bare. It can we feel like we have won a war by 9am on Tuesday morning.

To make mornings run as smoothly as possible I try to prep as much as possible beforehand. Every weekend we make it a bonding experience to pack our lunches for the week and supplement this as time to check in with each other.

Easy, cheap and healthy lunch kits can be washed, cut, cooled and sorted by marking your kids’ names on the lunch boxes in the fridge. Sandwiches can be spread, cut, sealed and frozen ready to defrost throughout the morning in their backpacks.

Think about how much LESS washing up and MORE room there will be on your kitchen counters after eliminating the lunch prep from your morning regime.

Back to school responsibilities

Make it your child’s responsibility by marking it with their names! School bags, book bags, drink bottles, lunch boxes – the lot. Not only will they love having a personalised item, you can use this to your advantage too.

Remember those childhood arguments where one person tries to claim something and the other comes back with ‘I don’t see your name on it?’ This can actually be useful as a form of teaching responsibilities to your children. Teach them if something has their name on it, it is their responsibility to know where it is at all times and have it packed and ready to go.

Make it their own by using cool monogramming stickers or use the personalisation option places like Stuck on You or Bright Star Kids. You can also attach initialled key rings to school bags if you are looking for an easier and less temporary option (for those mums counting on using the items as hand me downs for the next child).

Friendly competition

I don’t tend to encourage competition within the family, but hey, anything to get the job done.

Here I’m referring to cleaning – I would go mad if I had to clean up everyone’s daily mess.

This is a tip for those with young kids, I’ve found it less effective as my kids hit the teens. Before the kids go to bed at night we put a timer on for 3 minutes and race against the clock to tidy up the house as much as we can. Designating a different room to each family member, the kids get surprisingly into it. Not only do I go to bed with the satisfaction that the house isn’t a bomb site, but the kids are knackered! 

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Jen Hamilton

About the author

This article was written in collaboration with Jen Hamilton, founder of parenting app WOTBaby. Building on her experiences as an enrolled nurse, mothercraft nurse and nanny, she has combined all her experiences and knowledge into becoming an in-home maternity nurse.

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