The saying goes ‘a change is as good as a rest’. However, the six weeks holiday can be a change too far and leave your routine a distant memory. Now is the time to revisit your routine and work out what works for you and your family.
Here are our tips to streamline your system:
It’s hard enough for an adult to remember everything you need for the day. How many times have you left your phone at home or an important paper on the kitchen table? Don’t expect a child, whose only interest seems to be what’s actually in their lunchbox or when they can get back on the tablet, to be on the school routine.
Tick lists are an easy way to make sure they have everything they need for the school run. Use a whiteboard, write out everything they need and draw boxes underneath each item.
Then simply get your child to tick everything off before you leave for school. It will help both you and your child to be organised, especially on the days they need extra items like swimming or PE kits.
Most schools have moved to cashless payment systems, meaning that unless you book your child’s school meals the week before, they could go hungry. Or you’re left stumbling around attempting to put together a very random packed lunch the night before, or even in the morning before you leave.
Set a weekly reminder on your phone to remind you to book their meals each week. Set it at a time you won’t be busy, so you have time to do it. Be aware that a lot of payment systems also have downtime or maintenance which, unfortunately, tend to be an hour before the cut-off point of ordering … just to be super helpful.
If you’re not one for phone calendars and don’t want to sit and write on your paper calendar, there are online calendar creating tools that are great. You can select things to be added each week, from birthdays to reminders and the handy tool will populate the entire thing. Plus you get to add in family photos.
The balancing act
Our final tip is balance. Routines are amazing and they do make things easier, but they can also take over and they can feel restricting, perhaps suffocating at times.
Always remember to give yourself and the kids a break. If bedtime is always 7.30pm on the dot, but a meal with family means you won’t be back until 8pm, allow yourself that extra half hour. Just take PJs in the car with you so the kids can sleep in the car on the way back. They will barely remember the car-to-bed transfer.
Nobody is perfect, no routine is perfect and whatever you choose to do will be right. And remember, the mum in the playground that claims to always be on time, never forgets Timmy’s PE kit, swimming bag or lunch, still has to put her trousers on one leg at a time. There’s no such thing as perfect, just perfect for you.