Happy New Term! What are your new term resolutions going to be? It is that time of year when parents of school age children across the country are spending as much time, energy, money as they do when around Christmas and make resolutions – the start of a new school term.
So how is a new term like the start of a new year?
We spend a fortune on the new school uniform, as in just a few short weeks since we broke up from school they have already outgrown anything that does not have a hole in it. They need new shoes, football boots, trainers, bags, and how on earth have they managed to actually lose all bar three pairs of pants? Or is it just my children who do that?
Next we spend several hours in the stationery department, debating the pros and cons of a combined sharper and eraser, which protractor set is value for money, choosing the HB pencils, the B pencils, various colouring in pens and pencils, wanting the more unusual colours in their pencil cases and making sure number 4 son has the right handwriting pen for his school, whereas number 3 has to have an ink pen, and numbers 1 and 2 sons can have any pen that’s black but can’t be the erasable kind.
Finally comes the promise we make to ourselves, we shall be more organised this term. No more frantic phone calls at 6.30am asking if you would be kind enough to collect dear Johnny from school as you have a meeting you can’t get out of. That you will not make the same mistake as last time and only leave 5 minutes to travel the 7 miles between cricket and swimming. Not to book one child’s club one end of town which then clashes with another club that starts at the same time in another village.
So here are Crimson Tiger’s top tips for surviving the term without the aid of Valium as learnt by us the hard way.
9 Top Tips To Keep You Organised For The New Term
Save Money by Naming Everything
Label stickers for the clothes from companies like Label Planet Stikins, check when ordering to see if your school is listed with them for fundraising. I used to love the sewing the traditional labels on but with 4 children I ran out of time. I run the second hand uniform for our primary school and trust me these labels are a pain to remove! I also love the sock transfers from Easy 2 Name, they do wear off after a while but it has meant that our missing sports socks are always returned by the lovely PE department. Don’t stint on the naming, you have all seen the lost property on the last few weeks of a term of unnamed clothes. £100’s of pounds worth in a small school alone and the schools like to get rid of them during the holidays so if it’s not named chances are you will not see it again. Save yourself a fortune.
Keep a Sharpie in your handbag and car. When a child takes a toy into school or own clothes for disco and you only realise outside the school gate you can name it before they go in.
Tame the Paperwork
Create a space for the children to come home each day and leave any notes from school that they may have received. Even with the use of Parent Mail and emails there is always random pieces of paper that come home. As soon as you get the inset, dress up, disco etc dates put them straight in your calendar and list if you need to buy anything for these events. If you leave it for later it will never happen!
Train your Child
Every day remind the child to give you any forms and random pieces of paper with critical information to avoid the finding the crumbled up note at the bottom of the bag saying to come as a Roman solider tomorrow morning. If they have packed lunches, get them in the habit of putting the lunch bag in the kitchen. Get them in the habit of changing out of their uniforms and hanging it up as soon as they come in.
Get a Decent Calendar
Get a calendar and put it up where everyone in the household will see it. It may sound basic enough but seriously it will make a huge difference. Anyone that follows Crimson Tiger on twitter will know I love Organised Mum’s calendars. They are a godsend. I have been a customer of theirs for far too many years to remember, originally with their life book and now their calendars. I love how their calendars have a pocket at the back which I can place all the club, invitations and trip notes to refer to at a later date. Their calendars come with a fine nib pen, tear off shopping lists and stickers and run for 16 months starting from August. Get a week a page one as it will be easier to plan from and to glance at and start training the family to look at it. I get very territorial over who is allowed to write on it though, only I can, you can look at it and you can tell me to write something on it but please leave me to write on it. I like to keep it neat and not have random scrawling’s on it that no one can read. I am not a controlling person unless you tamper with my calendar!
Clear Your Mind & Realise You Are Achieving
Get a list book. The type with dividers that can fit in your bag. Keep a running list of what you need to do broken down into smaller tasks if necessary. Not only does it keep your mind clear but you also get to see how much you are really achieving. The lovely ladies at Talented Ladies suggest a done list to aid the satisfaction of seeing that you have been productive read their article here.
Muuuuummm What’s for Dinner?
Food plan! If you are not doing this why on earth not, there is nothing worse that trying to think what you are going feed everyone as soon as you come in through the front door and it really does save money? Each Sunday I sit down conveniently after dinner so my husband has to clear away the dinner bits, I get out my diary which is mainly used for work but also notes for the week, the family calendar, my notebook and I log on to do an internet food shop. Check first what is on offer, look at the week you have when are you most busy that you will not have time to spend time cooking and plan the food for your week. It really only takes 20 minutes to do unless of course we had a roast dinner that evening and the pans are really dirty then I can make it last 45 minutes to avoid clearing up the kitchen! Once you have finished put the food plan up for the family to see, then you will avoid the trail of family members coming into the kitchen asking what is for dinner, and if you are running late you can always be hopeful that someone has been decent enough to look at what we are eating and start preparing it.
Cook Once, Eat Twice
Batch cook. If you are cooking a lasagne then make two or three and freeze the others. Anything you make from scratch make extra and you will soon have ready made meals for when you have no time or too ill to cook for the family. My freezer is filled with these containers from Lakeland containing homemade soups, lentil dishes, ragu, white sauce, chilli, horseradish beef. They stack brilliantly on top of each other, are surprisingly tough, and can go in the microwave and dishwasher. If you really become organised you can colour code the contents with the lids so you can see at a glance what is in your freezer.
Birthday’s & Anniversaries
Try and keep on top of each months birthday’s, getting cards and gifts ready a month in advance. If you do find yourself in a panic, don’t forget you can order a gift and card from us and we will hand write your message, wrap your gift and send it direct to the birthday boy or girl. This costs no more than what it would cost to send an order to you (under £60 postage is £3.50) and we email you the receipt.
So what is my new term’s resolution?
I recently read a blog by Helen Russell in the Stylist Magazine who was describing her time living in Denmark and the hygge, you can read the article by clicking here. Not to feel guilty about taking time out to treat yourself, be it sitting enjoying a coffee and a pastry while reading or lighting a candle and taking time out, being kind to yourself. This I think is something I would like to learn more about and embrace this term. I shall let you know how I get on.
So a happy new term to you all, should we crack open the bubbles to celebrate the children going back to school? Someone pass me a danish pastry!
Share Your Top Tips, Advice & Experiences
What are your top tips for getting organised for the new school term, is there anything you wished other parents had told you to help you prepare for your little one starting school? Share your tips and experiences below, we never publish full names or email addresses.