The gates of chaos are about to be opened as most South African children head back to school on the 9th of January. Luckily, there are ways to avoid the panic on the first morning back at school and prevent backpacks from flying as your half-dressed children scramble into the car before you follow through on your threat to leave without them …
“The start of a new year brings with it the opportunity to start new routines and healthier habits. If the morning rush is something you’ve come to dread, then perhaps this is the year to make changes to your home to help you cope with getting the children off to school without breaking the house down,” says Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.
Below, RE/MAX of Southern Africa shares some ways to make your home back-to-school ready this January:
- Install Wardrobe Organisers
One of the hardest tasks in the morning is making sure your children are dressed and that they’ve packed in the correct clothing for their extra-curricular activities. A neat way to stay on top of this is to purchase wardrobe organisers and label each shelf according to the days of the week. You can then pre-pack clothing onto the relevant shelves.
- Backpack Drop-off Zone
Just when you think you’ve managed to get your children dressed and ready on time, one of them will announce that they’ve lost their backpack. To avoid rummaging through the house in a desperate attempt to find it, set up designated backpack drop-off zones for each of your children. Be creative with this to make it a space your children will want to use. Hang their photo on the wall along with a hook on which to hang their bag. Or, set up a colourful storage unit with their name on it.
- Homework Station
This goes hand-in-hand with the backpack drop-off zone. Make sure your children leave with signed permission slips and completed homework in hand by setting up a homework desk in a communal space at home (papers tend to go missing if you set this up in one of the children’s bedrooms). Place various trays onto a desk and attach ‘to-do’, ‘completed’, and ‘to be singed’ labels. Be sure to check these trays in the evening or first thing in the morning.
- Lunchbox Assembly Line
If you want to avoid being the tuckshop-money parent, you could organise your kitchen to make it easier to pack lunches in the morning. At the beginning of the month, stock up on healthy snacks (like dried and fresh fruit, nuts and breakfast bars) and stock them in a designated snack draw. Keep your lunchboxes in a cupboard nearby for easy assembly. You could also pre-make sandwiches on a Sunday and store them in the fridge for the week ahead.
- Calendar in the Kitchen
Lastly, in order to stay on top of everything, a daily reminder of what’s ahead can be incredibly useful. Put up a calendar in your kitchen in a spot that you’ll look at every day – the fridge being one of the best examples of such a spot.
“Sometimes, it is neither the parent nor the children, but rather the property that is causing the chaos. If your home is unable to accommodate your family, it can be incredibly difficult to make sure the morning routine runs smoothly. For example, keeping to schedule when there is only one bathroom between four of you can be a mammoth task. If your home is making it harder for you to get organised in the mornings, then you should reach out to a real estate professional and explore other options within your preferred school districts,” Goslett concludes.