The gates of Chaos are about to be opened as most South African children head back to school. Luckily, there are ways to avoid the panic on the first morning back at school and prevent backpacks from flying as your half-dressed children scramble into the car before you follow through on your threat to leave without them …

Below are some ways to make your home back-to-school ready this January:

1. Organise their wardrobe

One of the hardest tasks in the morning is making sure your children are dressed and that they’ve packed in the correct clothing for their extra-curricular activities. Stay on top of this by purchasing wardrobe organisers. Label each shelf according to the days of the week. You can then pre-pack clothing onto the relevant shelves.

2. Designated backpack zones

To make sure your children’s bags are always packed a ready, set up designated backpack drop-off zones for each of your children. Be creative with this to make it a space your children will want to use. Hang their photo on the wall along with a hook on which to hang their bag. Or, set up a colourful storage unit with their name on it.

3. Create homework stations

Make sure your children leave with signed permission slips and completed homework in hand by setting up a homework desk in a communal space at home (papers tend to go missing if you set this up in one of the children’s bedrooms). Place various trays onto a desk and attach ‘to-do’, ‘completed’, and ‘to be singed’ labels. Be sure to check these trays in the evening or first thing in the morning. 

4. Lunchbox assembly line

To avoid the stigma of being the ‘tuckshop-money parent’, organise your kitchen to make it easier to pack lunches in the morning. Stock up on healthy snacks (like dried and fresh fruit, nuts and breakfast bars) and keep them in a designated snack draw. Keep your lunchboxes in a cupboard nearby for easy assembly. You could also pre-make sandwiches on a Sunday and store them in the fridge for the week ahead.

5. Calendar in the kitchen

A daily reminder of what’s ahead can be incredibly useful to stay on top of everything. Put up a calendar in your kitchen in a spot that you’ll look at every day – the fridge being one of the best examples of such a spot.

Final Advice
Sometimes, it is neither the parent nor the children, but rather the property that is causing the chaos. If your home is unable to accommodate your family, it can be incredibly difficult to make sure the morning routine runs smoothly. For example, keeping to schedule when there is only one bathroom between four of you can be a mammoth task. If your home is making it harder for you to get organised in the mornings, then you should reach out to a real estate professional and start looking for a new home within your preferred school districts.