The secret to being back-to-school ready

January is often a stressful time for parents here in Australia as we start preparing to send our children back to school for another year. Things like uniforms, stationery, shoes, hats, school bags, swimming lessons, and many others are adding to an ever-growing list of things to organise before school returns. It becomes overwhelming after Christmas is over and you’re still trying to find things to occupy the kids while you’ve returned to work in the New Year. Suddenly it’s around the corner and you spend a crazy week doing as much as you can and ticking things off your list. However, you never really get to the important things that could seriously change your life for the better for the entire year. This is what I want to share with you today.

What should you be focussing on?

Getting ready for back-to-school is about more important things than what goes into the school bag.

It’s not really about the stationery, uniforms and covering books, but rather about the emotional readiness of the family for the routines that will come when school returns.

Kelly Kilah

Are you ready for quick school night dinners after work with tired kids? Are you ready for packing lunch boxes 5 days a week for every school aged child? Are you ready for running around after school for activities for your kids? Are you ready for those rushed mornings, pushing everyone out the door into the car to school? No one tells you just how exhausting all of these things can be for a parent, let-alone a child. These are the things that we should be focussing on changing before school starts back. These are the things that if we can find a better way of doing them, they have the ability to change our lives for the better. When we calm down our mornings, remove the need to decide what’s for dinner every afternoon, make mealtimes easier, get the kids to pack their lunches and reduce the number of after-school and weekend activities we will significantly increase our mental health by reducing anxiety and mental load.

Offering food types that are going to help your child learn is so important.

What mistakes are you currently making?

So the first mistake I want to talk about is making your kids lunch for them forever. Now I don’t want to offend anyone who is still making their kids lunch for them everyday, but it’s a great opportunity for them to take some responsibility and ownership of their own lunch boxes. You can still make the muffins or the slice that will go in it, but kids of a very young age can pack their own lunch box. It’s a perfect time to start talking to them about what type of food they need to fuel their bodies and minds for a day at school and helping them make good choices. Studies have found that children who are involved in the process of packing their own lunch will eat more of it on a regular basis than those that haven’t been involved. 

The second mistake I want to talk about is waiting until they’re home from school pick-up to decide what’s for dinner – or sometimes even worse, adding it to the morning jobs before school to choose a meal for the night. Adding extra decisions on a daily basis is a massive contributor to stress and anxiety and it simply adds to your mental load which is a big part of what we’re trying to reduce here at Essentials Only. Don’t stress if you’re still doing this, even though you hate having to make this decision everyday. It’s hard to make changes in the daily busyness, which makes my focussed challenge the perfect time for you to make lasting challenges to these routines.

So what is going to work for you?

Planning doesn’t have to be onerous, and it can greatly reduce your mental load, improving your health.

Instead of making many little decisions every day, you can make them all at once when you plan out your week ahead. When I start talking to clients about planning ahead and setting up a weekly planning session with their partner they show one of two responses – they suddenly feel a weight lifted from their shoulders when I explain that they won’t need to get home from work each day and figure out what’s for dinner OR they get anxiety about the idea of planning a whole week at once. During a personal consultation I will sit with them while they do their first planning session and they ALL agree that it helps reduce their task load during the week, it decreases the number of times they are going to the grocery store and it gives them more time to help their kids with their homework or simply play with them. Either way, it’s a win-win situation.

Getting back-to-school ready must suit your family

Every family is in a different situation. Whether both parents are working away from home during the day, how much time you have to prepare for back-to-school during the holidays in January, and the age of your children plays a big part in how you can implement this secret into your lifestyle. There are many other differences between each family that mean you need to implement this strategy a little bit differently. This is why my personal consultations are so important. I will personally work with your family to figure out which strategies will improve your preparedness for back-to-school time. 

I can help you transform from a mum who is dreading the back-to-school preparation time and is anxious about how you’re going to manage everything, into a calm and confident mum who is back-to-school ready. So that you can sit back and be proud of yourself for having everything for school days under control and ready to go long before Australia Day comes around, join the growing number of mums who are saying YES to reducing their overwhelm and feeling like they’re winning more in life.

When you are ready for the rest of your life to be easier and more enjoyable, the logical first step is a (either in person or via zoom) where I can get to you the unique needs of your household and develop personalised strategies to transform your happiness for the better.