Seven Back to School Hacks
1. The get ready playlist
This one was a game changer for our school run mornings!
Stop nagging your way through the morning. Put together a playlist so that The Cat Empire and Lady Gaga can totally take over for you. Just work out how long you need for everyone to get ready and then choose the tunes that will best remind you all what you need to be doing. We kick off with Good morning from Singing in the Rain, Food in the Belly by Xavier Rudd is one of the eating songs, Two Shoes by The Cat Empire is on foot duty. It really works well, the kids can hear where they need to be up to.
2. How to get rid of nits 😖
I know, you don’t even want to think about this one but realistically if you have school kids there will be a time when this advice will come in handy.
Let’s start by ruffling feathers and saying most of the commercial ones just don’t work. Lice have become resistant to these and some just make ridiculous promises that they can’t deliver on. The first thing you’ll want to do is wash everything that has been in contact with the lice, hats, sheets, pillowcase, towels, clothes, couch cusions... it’s a drag but everything needs a wash. Next you’ll want to cover the affected head with hair condtioner, nothing fancy the cheaper the better, and really lather it on. Once all the hair in completely smothered in the stuff then wrap the hair in cling wrap and leave it on for several hours. We do this step and then chuck on a movie to pass the time. Please be careful that the cling wrap is only over the hair and obviously not the face. I’ve heard some people use a plastic bag for this stage but I feel cling wrap is the much safer option. After a few hours remove the cling wrap and comb out the hair. The lice will have suffocated so will be easier to remove and the conditioner will have loosened the eggs. Have a cup of hot water to wash out the comb to avoid getting eggs anywhere. Eggs can hatch seven days later so you will need to be checking regularly over the next week and possibly reparations the process. Even if you do decide to go with one of those mixes from the chemist you will need to re check after a week. Eggs are notoriously hard to kill and I doubt there is a treatment that legitimately kills eggs.
The best ways to avoid lice all together is to tie back long hair, make sure kids know to never share hats or hair accessories, spray diluted eucalyptus oil onto hair or hats or use hairspray. Shaving their heads and moving house are also terribly effective.
3. Labeling clothes to avoid loss
You will want everything clearly labeled before it goes off to school. You can buy plenty of those of fancy iron on labels for clothes but often a sharpie is just as effective. You can buy white sharpies for darker uniforms. Labeling the uniform itself and not the tag is the way to go. Including your phone number is a good idea especially at bigger schools when parents don’t know each other to return items.
When searching for lost items keep in mind that schools often have multiple lost property spots including one at after care. Plenty of items from children not attending after care end up here as they tend to do the final sweep of the yard.
Something I found incredibly effective, and this may or may not be acceptable at your school, was to make small but noticeable additions to the uniform so that it was immediately identifiable. The school hat got a little plastic stick insect sewn on the side and the bomber jacket had a little felt heart sewn on the cuff. These small changes were not enough to breach the uniform code but they were enough to avoid the honest mistake of another kid picking up a hat or jacket and believing it to be their own.
I won’t spruik a particular brand but I will say grab a bento style lunchbox (one with all the compartments built in). This style means you won’t be chasing lids and containers around the bottom of school bags and lost property.
As for what goes in the lunchbox, keep it simple. Keep the expectations realistic, your enthusiasm to create lunchbox art, should it ever be there to begin with, is unlikely to make it to term two. 😆
5. Cut Back on Extra Curricular Activities
Going back to school, or starting school for the first time, is pretty tiring for kids. If you can, cut back on the after school lessons or delay starting them until everyone is settled in. Otherwise consider moving the lesson/s to the weekend so the kids can just relax after school.
6. Buy a Harry Potter Costume
Ah, costume days. You either love them or hate them! If you aren’t into costumes but the kids want to dress up a Harry Potter Costume is a pretty fantastic cover all solution. It will get you through book week, Halloween, sports dress up day (Quiddich) and it is free size and unisex so it will last years and go through all the siblings.
7. Start a Book Tradition
This one is for the end of the year, rather than the start of it but it’s worth thinking about now so you are organised. Buy a copy of a book you love and each year get your child’s teach to write a little message in it. It will make a sweet little momento when they finish school.