It can be hard work getting through a school term. Making sure you remember the homework, reading bag, PE kit, swimming lessons, play dates, parties, school trips… the list is endless! Not only that, but you have a million other things to think about and get done in a day. So I wanted to share with you the ways I have found to organise and motivate my school child.
1. Organise the school week early
Make sure you and your child organise everything before a new school week starts. Make yourself a list of everything you need to have ready for the coming week and tick it off as you get it ready. I love a list and always feel a sense of achievement when I can tick something off! I have a list of things I get ready every Sunday and then I know the week will run that bit smoother. It makes the mornings much easier as everything is ready and I don’t need to rush my son. He likes to do things in his own time, but gets upset when he thinks he is late.
My Sunday Checklist:
- School Uniform Washed and Ironed
- Books read/Homework done
- Book bag packed
- Letters signed and in book bag
- Water bottle washed and with book bag
- Shoes Cleaned
- Coat, hat and gloves all together by the door
- Swimming kit packed with a snack
- PE kit washed and packed
2. Organise a school routine for your child
Having a daily routine is a great way to organise your school child. When I have a routine I remember everything as it becomes an automatic part of my day. Everyone will find a routine that suits their family and the routine will change as your children get older. We have a routine that suits us at the moment – it has to balance having a baby with needing to do the school run and giving my older child some special time. Not easy!
3. Have a good breakfast
Make sure they have a good breakfast and a drink. When they get to school they will need to focus their attention straight away. When my son gets involved in a task he forgets everything else. He often forgets to eat his fruit or have a drink at snack time because he is too busy talking and runs out of time.
4. Tell them what is for lunch
Explain what is for lunch and make sure they know what that is. If it looks unfamiliar to how it is cooked at home or if it is called a different name they may not want to try it. It also helps them to feel more in control, if they know what is going to happen throughout the day.
5. Tell them about your day
Tell them what you are going to do that day. Especially if they have a younger sibling who stays at home. They may feel like they are missing out on something so explain the things you will be doing that day – naptime, shopping, cleaning etc. Also reassure them you will miss them but you will be fine without them. My son was worried that I would miss him too much and be sad.
6. Tell them about any changes to their day
Talk about any changes to the normal school day so they are prepared. We always talk about non-school uniform days, costume days, a change in the lunch menu, any visitors or trips. It is also nice for them to have something to look forward to. My son loves to count down the days to a special event.
7. Don’t linger at drop off time
Some mornings will be harder than others, especially later in the term when they get tired. If they are tearful or grumpy don’t linger, wave them off with a smile and tell then to have a great day. They will be fine as soon as they go into the classroom and get distracted by the teacher and their friends.
8. Have more than one set of school uniform
Make sure you organise two sets of school uniform for your child. They will spill their lunch, slip over in the mud, use glue, use paint, use glitter, play with sand or water and their uniform will all need to go in the wash. I only buy two sets because they grow so quickly and I will need a bigger size before I know it.
9. Join in with school events
They will go on school trips and have special days when you are invited.
If you are able to go with them then go and enjoy it, before they are older and they won’t want you there! It will show them that you are interested in their time at school and it gives them an opportunity to show you what they do at school. If you can’t go, don’t feel guilty. They will be fine without you there and the teacher will make sure they aren’t left out.
10. Find out about swimming
Find out when swimming lessons at school start for your child, if you want to organise some experience in the water beforehand. We had put off starting swimming lessons for my son because we weren’t sure if he was ready to concentrate in a lesson. When he started school we found out that they go swimming in the summer term. So we have now started lessons after school and I was really glad I did as he found it really hard to start with.
11. Organise school costumes for your child
You will need to buy/make costumes for special days such as history days, the nativity, school plays, children in need. Buy or make them in advance and try them on to make sure they fit. Label each part if you want it to come back at the end of the day.
12. Get ready for PE
Talk to them about PE and make sure they can get changed on their own. Make sure they know which day it is and send them to school without jewellery and anything they find hard to change into or out of.
13. Help them to make friends
Make play dates for your child. This will nurture their friendships and yours with other parents. It will also give your child something fun to do at the weekend and when they get invited back to play you will get some time to yourself.
14. Check their bag
Check at the end of each day they have everything before you leave the playground. We always check my son has his jumper on under his coat, his gloves, his hat, book bag with reading book in and water bottle. He is very good at remembering his things, but he would be upset if we went home without something.
15. Get changed quickly
Get changed as soon as they get home. this helps to keep their uniform clean and helps them to know the school day is over. My son loves to crawl round the floor playing Lego as soon as he possibly can, not great for his school trousers!
16. Have a snack ready
Give them a drink/snack as soon as possible. They will be hungry as soon as they get home and having a snack can prevent a meltdown. I try to give my son something healthy and small, so he doesn’t get too full and not eat his meal later.
17. Put everything ready the night before
Organise and lay everything out your child will need for school the night before, this makes the mornings easier. Their uniform, book bag, water bottle, any letters and coat and shoes. It also helps me because I can concentrate on getting the baby ready.
18. Keep the calendar up to date
Put school dates on a calendar or in your phone with reminders as soon as you get any letters. Include things like cake sales so you know they/you need to take in money, when you need to buy/make any costumes and if there are any days you are invited to come into school.
19. Listen to their day
Ask about their day and really listen. They may not tell you about the bits you want to hear – what they’re learning, if you were good, who they played with etc. But the things they tell you are very important to them – who they sat by at lunch, what they ate at snack time, who got in trouble today! I find out some really interesting and funny things about my son when I listen to his stories about the day.
20. Read with them
Try to read a small amount often. Ten minutes each day of reading and spelling helps them to make more progress than sitting down and doing one hour at the weekend.
21. Let them rest
They will be tired so don’t make big plans for after school. Try to keep parties, play dates and trips out to the weekend.
22. Be prepared for parties
There will be lots of invites to parties. I try to keep in a small stock of cards and gifts ready. I buy them in the sale and then I don’t have to rush round finding something at the last minute.
23. Make homework special
Try to make homework as fun and practical as possible. Have some special time to do it together and make it about spending time together rather than another chore to do. We do my son’s maths homework at the weekend when we have more time. I try to make a practical activity out of it and then record what we do with a photo or picture to show the teacher.
24. Find out what topic they are learning
Find out the topic for the school term and talk about it at home. You can read books from the library, take a trip, look at a website or find a TV show or film about the topic. This shows you are interested in their learning and it motivates them to learn more about it.
25. Build their self-esteem
Make sure you tell them everyday how proud you are of them and how well they are doing. I want my son to know that I am proud of how hard he is trying at school and that I want him to have fun and be happy.
Have you got any tips for organising your child’s school life? Know any great ways to motivate your child to do well at school? Share them in the comments below.