If you’re working with a school aged child or your little one is about to start school (my middle child is starting kindergarten this week, exciting), these 10 back to school tips will ensure you stay organised for the school year.
1. Do A Dry Run Of The School Drop Off
You can expect that MB has already been through this with the kids. They’ve done the morning routine and the mad dash to school only to forget a lunch box or a school hat! But it’s also important for you to go through the process with the children. Because even if MB is taking Miss 5 to school on the first day, chances are you’ll be doing the rest of the school drop offs. Ensure that your nanny child understands that you’ll be doing it sometimes as well as mummy and that it’ll be just as good!
2. Agree On A Drop Off + Pick Up Spot
If your nanny kids are old enough and comfortable to be dropped off, agree on a usual place so that they always know where to find you. If some days you’ll be driving your car and others the nanny car, make sure the kids know how to recognise them. Or if you’re still walking into school to collect like I am, decide on a meeting spot within the pick up area so that they don’t have too much trouble trying to find you amongst a group of other adults.
3. Introduce Yourself To The Teacher
Most teachers will appreciate it if you make the effort to introduce yourself to them. Explain that you’re the child’s nanny or carer and that you’ll be picking up the kids most days if not all days. This way even if you’ve already given the school the paperwork authorising you to collect, the teacher will be able to put a face to the name. Plus, with an introduction, you’ve got a segue to chat with the teacher about how your nanny child is settling in to school, and they’ll know who you are when you sign your kids homework diary and readers.
4. Ensure You’re On The School Contact List
Often times the parents register the children into school enrolment and their contacts go into the database. But if you’re the one who’s going to be collecting an ill child from the school sick bay or calling to advise that your nanny child won’t be at school, make sure your details are in the database too. That way the school can have you as first point of contact and direct communication without delays. Tip: join the school newsletter mailing list. If your employers are like mine, they’ll yell out to you that it’s “no rubbish lunch box day” or “Super Hero dress up day” as they run out the door in the morning. Ensure you’re always in the loop by accessing the information first hand.
5. Check Out The Classroom
If you’ve got children starting school for the first time, chances are you might have a few teething problems in the beginning. If you’ve got a good understanding and vision of the school setup, you can help to transition the kids at home after school hours. Simulate a school environment at home to play games and do homework to help your nanny kids adjust easier in a comfortable and secure environment. Tip: I discovered a brilliant new kids app recently for iOS devices. Bizzi Brains have created an app to help your kindergarteners or prep kids settle into school. “I Learn” will have your child ready to make the most of school. During the game they’ll need to pick up pencils and books to put them away such as they would have to do in the classroom, and at lunch times they find themselves in a social setting with other kids. You can even insert your own faces to overlay the girl or boy, the parents and the teacher within the game. You can find I Learn in the app store.
6. Introduce Yourself To The Other Parents + Carers
I’ll admit, school drop offs and pick ups are not my favourite. I spend the time uncomfortably on my phone not really connecting with the mother cliques. But if you can take the plunge and muscle in on that mums group, playdates will be much easier to organise! Tip: make a list of mums/carers names, phone numbers, address, and the corresponding kids names so that playdates, school sport, and extra curricular activities can be easily planned.
7. Have A “School Folder” For Each Child
Does your fridge overflow with school notes? Keep a folder for each child easily accessible in the kitchen or study to pop their school info into. I use a ringed binder with plastic sleeve inserts. I store all of the notes they bring home, excursion details, a copy of the school uniform policy, school contact info, teacher outlines, homework diaries, lesson outlines and key term dates. I also store school receipts and school fee info. That way the information can be easily found and categorised during the school year and you’ll never forget an excursion or sports day!
8. Maintain A Family Calendar + Schedule
For a lot of nannies, family and household management plays a big part. Particularly if you work for large busy families. Keeping track of their whereabouts, events, meetings, and school functions can make or break a household during the school year. I love these large family calendars from Kikki.K. Each family member gets a column and their activity gets written down. Tip: if you’ve got nanny parents that work long hours or do lots of travel, this is a way for them to glance at the calendar and easily know what their children are up to.
9. Memorise The Daily School Requirements
It’s hard enough getting kids out the door with their lunch and clean teeth without having to remember what day is library day, which day is sports uniform day, and which is homework day. Familiarise yourself with the daily school requirements and pop a reminder into your phone calendar and the family planner calendar. Tip: I like to scan the day’s events in the morning from my phone calendar just before I arrive so that I can hit the ground running and not forget that overdue library book.
10. Make Lunch Boxes The Night Before
Ok so this is my special little secret that I’m sharing with you. It sounds simple. It is simple. Make the school lunches the night before. Either whilst you’re un-packing bags and making afternoon tea, or whilst making dinner, prepare the lunch box and pop in the fridge for the morning. But won’t the sandwiches go soggy? We do a Bento Box style lunch box and 95% can be prepared in advance, leaving time to quickly chop some fruit and cut a sandwich in the morning.
Now if you’re well prepared, and have tag teamed with MB to ensure that your nanny child is ready for school, you should be set for the first day. But in order to survive not just the first day, but the rest of the year with ease, these 10 back to school tips will help you transition the family household into the school year.
>>> Are you ready to go back to school this week?