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Christmas is over and the festive season has all been packed away for another year. Some families head away for their annual caravan or camping holidays whilst others enjoy day trips and just hanging out with family and friends locally. Whatever we do, we’ve all been enjoying the long, hot lazy summer school break.
I am one of those strange parents who actually LOVE school holidays and having my kids at home with me. Sadly though, the school holidays are coming to an end. Only a week to go before the alarms need to be set, school uniforms sorted, lunches prepared, homework, school readers and after school activities decided upon.
In NSW (and most other states in Australia), the school term begins next week and so this is THE week to get organised. There is nothing worse than rushing about after Australia Day, trying to find everything the kids need to go back to school.
I love school shopping. I always have. I can remember being about 12 years old and heading to my local shopping centre with my best friend to choose my new pencil case, notebooks, scented pens etc. It was such fun and I still enjoy the school shopping. Admittedly, I can’t resist shopping for them, without adding a few items for myself into the basket… like a pack of pretty paperclips or some cute sticky notes or a new tape dispenser.
Many school have a list of items required for each grade. My suggestion is to buy “extras” of the items which will get used up quickly, or invariably lost. Things like glue sticks or crayons. This is the best time to stock up on these types of items, at great prices.
Staedtler Twist Crayons 12 Pack (RRP $4.68)
If you’re not a fan of school shopping, Officeworks offer the School List Service.
- Drop off your school list now to your local Officeworks store.
- They’ll pack your items free of charge.
- They’ll call or SMS you when it's ready to collect.
Hats, lunch boxes, sharpeners, library bags… things will get misplaced or lost. It’s annoying, but they’re kids and playing at lunchtime is way more important than worrying about where they may have left their drink bottles.
Some items come with a space to write your child’s details - like the ELC library bags (pictured below). If you haven’t yet, buy a label maker. It is the most handy item when it comes to labelling your child’s things for school. I have one those ones where you can change the tape to the fabric, iron-on variety which means the machine can be used for plastic drink bottles as well as school hats or uniforms.
ELC Library Bags – RRP $4.98
Homework is a fact of life!
When it comes to homework, my kids have had it easy. Junior primary school has meant that they've only needed to read each evening. At the start it was a school reader, but as they get older, 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' has become the reading material of choice. This year, my boy will be in year 4 which means that homework will become a nightly routine… for at least the next 8 years.
Getting kids to do their homework doesn't have to be painful. A little organisation and keeping to a routine will make this necessary part of school-life, easier.
Having the necessary supplies, ready to go at home, is a great start. We've always done school readers at the kitchen bench (while I prepare dinner) or any homework at the dining table. As they get older, a desk is a great place to keep all of their things organised and it’s the space where they can sit quietly and concentrate on the job at hand.
Paddington Kids Desk – RRP $49
After School Activities
A lot of kids enjoy after school activities. Mine have participated in a range of different activities. Ballet, gymnastics, soccer, karate and swimming. The sad truth is that when one child is participating in their after school activity, they other/s usually has to sit on the side and wait. Sure, they could probably participate too, but if you’re like me with a boy and a girl, they like to stick to their own thing. I could never convince my son to do ballet and my daughter hated the thought of doing karate.
The trick to keeping the waiting child calm is to have something for them to do while waiting. It’s easy to pass them our phones to play with, but hey, we need those phone to play Candy Crush while waiting too. Right?
Bring along snacks and water bottles – this is an absolute necessity because waiting kids are ALWAYS hungry kids. Bring along a scrap book and pencils. Encourage them to draw their surroundings.
Studymate MegaMonster Premium Scrapbook – RRP $0.88
And if they really, REALLY want your phone or tablet, Officeworks has introduced the Growing Minds App which features fun, learning games for primary and secondary students. I’ve downloaded this app to my phone and my little lady has been enjoying playing the games suited to her age group.
Do you have any good tips for getting kids "back to school" ready?
During the Appeal, which runs from January 1 to February 15, customers can go in-store and buy a stationery donation card, write their name on it and place it in the store’s display to show their support. Alternately, donations can be made at the register or online at officeworks.com.au. A National Fundraising Day on February 12 will see all 153 Officeworks stores host various fun activities for the local community.