We have one week left before the kids are back at school so our thoughts are turning to back to school preparations in the frugal house this week.
I’m organised with school uniform (mostly) seeing as you have to buy a lot of it from the school directly but that’s the easy part of going back to school if you ask me so I thought I’d share a few top tops on how to make going back to school as easy as possible for you and your children….
Get them back into a routine
I’ve started waking my two up at 8.30 so the back to school early mornings next week won’t be such a shock to the system considering the lazy mornings they’ve enjoyed over the last six weeks. Bedtimes aren’t a major issue as we’re not strict on early bedtimes here so I’m just making sure they’re settled a little earlier than they have been recently.
Don’t spend hours sewing in faffy little name tags!
Invest in a £1.50 Sharpie Laundry Marker and simply write your childs names or initials on the tag using that. It takes me about five minutes to label the kids clothes and although it does fade over time, I give it a quick top up each half term just before they go back to school if I need to.
Outsmart the Sock Fairy
I buy two or three five packs of plain black socks for Master Frugal and white for Miss Frugal so there’s no pairing of socks necessary. It doesn’t matter that the sock fairy regularly visits us and steals socks now because they’re all the same so any sock can go with any other!
Set up your own Stationery box
I have a box that I have filled with paper, pens, pencils, rubbers, sharpeners, rulers, glue and just about anything else the kids could possibly need for school and homework. If they need something, they know where to go to get it and they can always top up their pencil case from this box and this way, I know that they’ll always have everything they need without any last minute trips to the shop. I’ve been buying something each week over the holidays but if you wait a week then all the back to school stuff will be half price.
Buy in bulk
OK, I don’t mean buy huge amounts of everything but I do usually buy five shirts for the kids as they seem to attract dirt and by having five identical shirts I can just keep to my policy of washing just once a week (it works for me). Shirts are cheap enough these days that you can pick up five decent ones for under £15 (that’s based on the ones I’ve bought Master Frugal which were £5 for 2).
Work out your morning routine
We used to use a little checklist to make sure that the kids did everything they needed to on a morning but these days I just rely on them to be sensible and check they have everything they need. Here’s an example of the checklist I used to use if you want to print it out and see if it works to make your morning routine easier:
Make time for breakfast
Breakfast really is an important meal, especially for children so I make sure that there’s always something there that the kids can just grab and go if they don’t have time to sit down and eat something (as is often the case if they dawdle). We have bags in the freezer of fruit ready to just throw in our smoothie maker for an on the go breakfast and there’s always fresh fruit for them to take too. For when they have more time on a morning, I have easy to make porridge sachets and cereal that they love and for the occasional treat I might make them waffles.
Establish a routine for all of you for after school
My two know they have to go straight upstairs and get changed when they get in from school and they need to lay their uniform over the back of their chairs – if anything is dirty then they put it in the wash and make sure they have clean for the next day. They then need to put any letters from their book bags on to the kitchen counter and put their book bags away. I’ll then make sure any forms are signed and back in their book bags along with any necessary money ready for them to hand in the next day. I also add any dates straight on to our calendar so we don’t forget anything.
Work out a homework strategy that’s right for your child
Miss Frugal always has at least a week to complete her homework for each class so she prefers to sit down on a Sunday morning and power through it, just doing little bits through the week when she feels like it. I’d prefer her to do it nightly but seeing as she’s never missed handing homework in and she regularly gets complimented in the standard of her homework then I’m letting it go. I’m going to insist that Master Frugal does it nightly though when he starts at the same school next week as I know he won’t be happy to do it in bulk like his big sister.
Learn the art of compromise
You might want your child to have a sensible rucksack for a book bag whereas they might want a River Island handbag or you might think a pencil case is simply a pencil case whereas your child wants to use their Ted Baker make-up bag to store their Sharpies in. These things might seem insignificant to you but to a child who often just wants to fit in, they’re actually really important so try and see things from their side. I’m not saying give in to everything they want but just think about why they’re asking for things before you say no. I spent more than I wanted to on a bag for Miss Frugal because I knew that all of her friends were getting a bag from River Island and she didn’t want to be the only one not to have one.
Can you think of anything else that can make getting ready for back to school easier?
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