We’re halfway through the summer holidays now parents.. not long left to go! If you’ve been hybrid working this summer, I’m sure you’ve had to really plan your summer carefully. We decided to go against holiday clubs this year and boy, it’s been tough! I’ve allowed the kids to make their own way down to the communal garden in our flat to keep them occupied during the day but on days when they’ve just wanted to stay indoors, it’s been a real struggle.
However, with a few helpful hacks and a LOT of patience, we’ve been able to get through the majority of the summer holidays with ease and pretty much ready for the new school year in September.
Back To School with Very
I was so glad I was able to collaborate with Very.co.uk again for a second time, and they sent me this AMAZING Back To School box filled with my favourite school essential items. I’ll cover the contents a little later on but in the meantime, I want to share with you my 5 helpful back-to-school hacks…
5 helpful hacks to get your family ready for the new school year
Hack #1: Set aside 10 minutes a day for reading
At least 10 minutes of reading a day can really make a big difference, especially if they are a younger age i.e. Key Stage 2 and lower as their vocabulary is still growing and there’s a lot to the English language that still needs to be learnt. Reading can also help with their speaking and grammar skills too if they can read aloud.
Reading doesn’t have to be boring – whether it’s a chapter book or a local even leaflet, let the kids choose what they want to read as long as they’re reading something new and for at least 10 minutes. If you want to get creative with reading, why not come up a script together and turn it into role-play? If you have a reluctant reader, you might want to try reading together or taking turns to read a short story.
Hack #2: Keep the morning & bedtime routine the same
Okay, I know this one is easier said than done. 🙂 I am sure most parents are guilty of allowing their children to have a different routine during the holidays, myself included! At Christmas I can tell you we completely throw this hack aside but summer holidays, I make a conscious effort to ensure that the children are keeping the same/similar bedtime routines. My two have no problem waking up early when it’s the weekend or school holidays but always seem to struggle when it’s a school weekday.. very suspicious!
Of course, life happens so sticking to a regular routine doesn’t mean having to give up on staying out late every now and then. Enjoy your summer holidays and be flexible to bend the rules sometimes to keep everyone happy.
Hack #3: Create a summer timetable and/or incentivise household chores
This hack kind of follows on from no. 2, creating a simple timetable or weekly planner can give the children a sense of routine, even if you’d prefer to keep it more free-flowing. For example, you can create a timetable with ‘morning, midday, afternoon’ periods than actually setting times. It might be worth planning high-energy or intensive activities at the start of the day i.e. homework, reading, cleaning their room etc and then the relaxing or enrichment-based activities i.e. listening to music, free play, arts & crafts towards the end of the day or in-between intensive activities to break up the day.
If your children are old enough, incentivising household chores could be a win-win for the family, kids will ensure that their room is clean and laundry put into the correct pile in exchange for ‘pocket money’. I set a base fee for the children’s pocket money then give them mini top-ups for any additional chores they complete. The longer/challenging the chore is, the more money they can earn. To avoid it getting ridiculous, I let the children know that the pocket money is capped to £1.50 a week. They are also aware that they can choose to spend or save their pocket money at the end of each month.
If you prefer not to involve money, think about incentivising the children with more free-time, playing their favourite song out loud on Alexa, or exchange for something they’d like to do… it may also keep them away from the screens a little longer!
Hack #4: Getting familiar with the route to and from school
Whatever their age, getting your children familiar with their route to and from school can help with settling and familiarise themselves to their surrounding. For primary school children, it can be a great way to help build independence and prepare them for when they make that transition into secondary school. If you drive your children to school perhaps ask them to remember the route then next time you drive, they can shout out the directions.
If your child is already familiar with their route to school, perhaps you can ask them to guide and direct you on your next journey to school.
Hack #5: Clear out their wardrobe BEFORE buying new school uniform
Chances are, your little ones have outgrown most of their school uniform from last year and previous years. Instead of throwing away the old school uniform, perhaps donate it to your local school or put it on websites such as Facebook Marketplace or on apps like OLIO where there may be others who might want it and will travel to you to collect it.
With the rising cost of living, every little helps and by giving away your pre-loved goods, it helps reduce fabric waste and landfill. For school uniform that is torn and not in a condition to give away, give it a new life at home. We use damaged sweaters and t-shirts as cleaning cloths for the kitchen and bathroom.
Top Tip: Buy school uniform essentials early!
When buying school uniform, there are some things you can afford to wait out with and purchase later during the year, but there are also some things that you’ll need to purchase as soon as the summer holidays have started to ensure that you get the best stock availability.
White short-sleeve t-shirts for PE ALWAYS seem to be sold out every time I check online and in-store. It’s one item I always forget to purchase and never seems to last as long as the other uniform items. Finding good shoes can also be a struggle. I like to get Little Man Clarks school shoes because they are the only shoe brand that seems to last him longer than 6 months. I don’t know how he manages to scuff his shoes so easily but they have been the only brand for us that’s stood the test of time so naturally, I go to them as my first choice!
Unboxing our Very back-to-school box
Here’s what we got inside our Very Back To School box! Little Miss picked this colourful backpack from Accessorize which is small for A4 books but perfect for her daily school needs. It would also make a super-stylish PE bag. Little Man chose these strappy smart shoes from Very’s wide selection of Clarks shoes. I picked out packs of cardigans, polo shirts and trousers because we are always in need of those. The quality of material is great and really soft, whilst the sizing is accurate and the fit is on the roomy side ensuring a comfortable fit. I will definitely be continuing my school essentials shop with Very – I still have school sweatshirts and jacket to buy!
If you’ve never bought school uniform from Very.co.uk before, you can now add them to your list of mum-approved school uniform retailers to choose from. 🙂
NB. This blog post was written in collaboration with Very.co.uk. I received a Very branded box and sample products for the purpose of this post. All opinions, photos and content are my own and shouldn’t be re-used without permission.