Schools out! Right about now you’re wondering how on earth teachers master this entertaining gig all term long, right?!
A school holiday might be the most exciting thing for a child but it can be a rattling experience for us parents trying to figure out what the heck to do with said child/children for two whole weeks.
One thing I think we can all agree on is the nightmare we all experience at the tail end of a school holiday period.
You know that hair-pulling, where the heck have all the school socks gone – despite the fact they haven’t been worn for two weeks – kinda feeling we all experience as parents.
Yeah, you know what I’m talking about!
The back-to-school shenanigans.
Are you finding you’re wasting time on things like getting ready in the morning, making the lunches or constantly having to find the kids sports uniforms at the last minute? Bring in the new school term by rectifying your day-to-day mistakes that are costing your time, money and sanity!
As a mother of two teenage children I’ve had my fair share of hairy moments when the new school term comes around – I’ve now become a seasoned pro when it comes to getting out the door on time (Don’t worry! You’ll become one too after reading this!).
By now you probably would realise I’m not kidding when I say I run my family like a business. I’m going to share with you some helpful ways to reset before the next school term – let’s call it the next chapter in your procedures manual – to ensure a well-oiled family operation is underway as the new school term rolls in.
// PERFORM A POST-MORTEM – IT’S TIME FOR A BRUTAL SELF-EVALUATION
Yes you heard me right, time to perform an autopsy… No silly, not literally! To reset your school term grind you’re going to have do some deep thinking and perform a self-evaluation. Think about the highs and the lows of the previous term. Were there things that went wrong and were there things that went exceptionally well?
A great way I’ve learnt to perform a post mortem (self-evaluation) is by asking 3 crucial questions:
1. What will I KEEP doing?
e.g. Having teenagers surrender mobile devices so they can focus on doing homework.
2. What will I STOP doing?
e.g. Wasting time trying to micromanage everyone.
3. What will I START doing?
e.g. Figure out an easier way to organise everyone’s schedules.
// SYSTEMISE GETTING OUT THE DOOR!
Being in business has taught me one major thing that I can apply to all aspects of my life, and that’s how essential it is to simplify and systemise! I’m a systems junkie, but I want you to know that regardless of where you are in your organisation journey, you can create a system for your school routine that is going to make going back to school after the holidays so much simpler!
But how you may ask?
Easy! You’ve come to the right gal.
Are you constantly trying to exit the house on time? Let’s rectify this with a set of automated processes you can repeat every day. Make a list of the tasks that are currently taking the most time, then find a way to reduce and simplify them.
For example, making lunches can be an arduous process that takes time in the morning. Instead of crying over spilt milk, broken hair ties and lost socks, reduce time by packing the school lunches the night before.
Once you’ve listed all the tasks, align them in order so once you’re out the door you don’t have to think twice if you’ve forgotten anything. Neuroscientist, Daniel Levitin (an organising expert) says to make sure you have a designated place for everything. Having a bowl near the front door where you always return your keys is a great example. Keeping a dedicated spot for such items, will afford you more active ‘brain power’ so you don’t have to waste time thinking. So, make dedicated spots for keeping things like school bags, shoes or lunch boxes so that you can grab them on the way out the door and go, go, go!
If you are finding yourself running late to work almost every day? Create a carpool schedule with the local mama’s in your neighbourhood. In exchange you’ll get a few more productive days at work or an extra hour in the mornings to get sh*t done.
Creating a set of simple sequential tasks that you repeat daily means you’ll know exactly what you have to do and minimise the amount of time you waste transitioning between tasks.
// CREATE STRUCTURE AND ROUTINE!
Once the kids arrive home from school, are they just left to their own devices or electronic devices? Be honest. No judgement here.
Perhaps create a balanced structure of free time and tasks for them to complete. This way you’re giving them responsibility and slowly nurturing them towards taking care of their own schedule.
When children get home from school they need a little down-time to settle their little minds, much like adults when they get home from work (I love a cuppa and a few mins of me-time when I get home).
After an hour or two break, it’s time for some homework and chores. A great way I learned to make my younger children do homework is to create a fun homework trolley much like this one. Armed with colourful stationery, textbooks and calculators, your little Einsteins can take the trolley to their chosen homework spot. A change is better than a holiday, right! Remember to have your teenagers surrender their devices by placing them in a special ‘device holder’ so they can concentrate (without an tablets or phones if they have any).
Once they’ve done all their homework, it’s time to do the daily chores that you’ve set them, followed by free-time, dinner, showers and bed. How you order these events is totally up to you, but just make sure a consistent routine is in place so positive habits can be formed.
Did you know grumpy child behaviour can be related to lack of sleep? Most experts agree that children need between 10 or 11 hours of sleep each night, so make sure your children get plenty of sleep.
// INTEGRATE TECHNOLOGY INTO YOUR SYSTEMS
Putting systems in place can be great, but make sure you test them so they run without any issues. Using technology as a fail-safe mechanism can be a fabulous way to ensure your systems are fool-proof and make sure everyone’s on the same page. The Life Sorted app is perfect for systemising your school routine, with the ability to schedule everything you can think of so you’ll never have to worry about missing a parent-teacher interview again. Life Sorted will do the thinking for you!
Here are some great ways you can use Life sorted in your school routine:
1. Set up school terms and sporting activities in Life Sorted
Want to repeat a weekly sporting activity but limit it to a school term or sporting season? Life Sorted provides you with the ability to create ‘terms’ – just setup once and use for multiple repeating events. Simple! You can setup the whole year’s terms and sports seasons in advance without the need to keep checking or remembering these dates.
Simply head to SETUP > TERMS. Here’s a short video tutorial on the terms feature
2. Set up repeating events (routine tasks) with associated to-dos
Need a prompt to peel yourself off the couch and pack the lunches every night before bed? Or reminder to grab a child’s musical instrument or sport uniform every Tuesday?
With Life Sorted, you don’t have to re-enter events over and over again – it’s easy to make them repeat automatically. Every event seems to create more work. With Life Sorted, you can create a to-do that is linked to a specific event. This helps you keep track of everything that needs to be done. You can choose from the built-in options such as ‘send an SMS’ or ‘buy a gift’ for birthdays, or you can create your own ‘things to do’.
Watch our video tutorial on creating events including using linked to-dos.
3. Set reminders and include details for important events or tasks
Sometimes our brains are foggy and a slip up can ruin your day, Life Sorted makes it easy to set yourself reminders for those things that are likely to slip your mind. Sometimes details can be missed, like who’s picking who up from school. Life Sorted makes it easy to leave notes for your family (hooray! No more messy sticky notes on the fridge). Notes can be added to any event, annual or to-do you set yourself or a family member.
The biggest message I want to share with you is the liberating power of systems. A little time to systemise as much as you can in your family life now, will make everything easier and less stressful in the long run.