Do you feel constantly overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of school admin to keep track of? The after-school clubs, dress up days, assemblies, homework, music lessons… it seems never ending, doesn’t it? Here are 8 easy tips for keeping on top of school admin…
Search the bags
Make it a habit that as soon as your kids come home from school, you search their bags to see if they have any letters from school. Also take out their lunch boxes and water bottles and put them by the sink ready to be washed up. Better still, if your children are old enough, get them to do this!
Put dates in your diary immediately
Whenever you get a letter or email home from school, scour it for important dates and put those dates in the calendar on your phone with plenty of notifications.
So, for example, if they come home with a letter about a dress up day next Tuesday. Put it in your diary with notifications on Monday night and Tuesday morning. Put another date in your diary (e.g. Saturday morning) when you will actually buy/make the costume – again with plenty of notifications!
Do any actions immediately
If you possibly can, do whatever action is required immediately. For example, if you need to fill in a form and write a cheque (or send a bank transfer) do that immediately too. Then put the form and cheque straight back in your kid’s bag ready to go to school the next day.
If you can’t do the action immediately – perhaps you need to buy something or discuss it with your OH first – put a reminder in your calendar to do the action required, together with plenty of notifications!
Have a dedicated school pinboard
After you’ve actioned the school letter – put it on a dedicated pinboard for all school letters. This is a belt and braces tactic – you might already have the dates in your diary, but having a visual cue will give you extra reminders and make you even less likely to forget!
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just a cheap and cheerful pinboard on your kitchen wall will do… In fact, I don’t even use a pinboard, I just Blu Tack the letters to a section of my kitchen wall that’s tiled!
This is also a great place to put lists of spellings to remember, kit lists for school trips and any other school / kids related reminders.
Make a ‘things to take to school’ timetable
It’s so hard to remember all the things the kids need to take to school each day – music books and instruments, P.E. kits, homework, kit for school clubs and after-school clubs. It’s all too easy to forget something!
The best way I’ve found to keep track of it all and ensure nothing gets forgotten is to make a simple timetable. Write the days of the week across the top and underneath write all the things they need to remember to take each day.
Stick this near the door and get in the habit of checking it every night to pack what they need and double check every day before you set off to school to make sure nothing has been forgotten!
Better still, if your kids are old enough, get them to make their own timetable and take responsibility for checking it and packing their own bags.
Get ready the night before
Get into a habit of always packing the bags (using your timetable to check!), laying out school uniform and getting anything else ready that’s needed THE NIGHT BEFORE. This will save valuable time in the morning and mean you have more time to hunt if something’s got lost!
Again, if your kids are old enough, get them to do this for themselves before they go to bed. Or do it together and make it a fun family activity.
Get dressed and make packed lunches before breakfast
Such a simple tweak but it makes mornings much less stressful. Make the packed lunches and insist the kids get dressed BEFORE they eat their breakfast – that way all you need to do after breakfast is clean teeth, put shoes and coats on, grab the (pre-packed) bags and go.
No breakfast until you are dressed is a much better incentive that you yelling ‘hurry up and get dressed or we’re going to be late!’. And again, if your kids are old enough, get them to make their own packed lunches too!
Have a dedicated time to do homework
If your kids are younger and only get homework once a week, set aside a dedicated time each week to do homework – for example, my kids do their homework on a Sunday afternoon.
As soon as the homework is done, put the homework book in the school bag so it doesn’t get forgotten.
If your kids are older and get homework every day, get them to choose for themselves a dedicated time each day when they will do their homework – preferably before they are allowed any screen time!