Back to school sanity saver #8


“Total craziness! Drama demo’s, new teachers, new schools, ever changing extra mural schedules for my own kids, organising diving competitions, class meetings, oh, and I almost forgot, regular everyday life too! I swear one day I will run a logistics company!!!”

This is what my sister wrote on Facebook the other day as she juggles her own business with the busyiness of her own three children.  It’s how so many of us feel when we are trying to settle back to school and work routines at the beginning of each year.

Things can feel really chaotic and topsy turvy for the first few weeks as we all find our new groove and the kids’ schedules become regular, and it all takes a fair bit of planning. Sunday nights for me feel like Mission Control, and I can spend more time planning for my children than for myself!  Add in an out of town business trip and this is definitely the case lists being drawn up and instructions being left for all and sundry.

When I am wearing my Mission Control hat, these are the things that I am making sure I don’t forget:

  • Extra mural fixtures for each child
  • Test dates
  • Exam dates
  • Project deadlines (for the kids that is!)
  • School holidays and public holidays
  • Private sports coaching
  • Doctors, physio, optometry and orthodontic appointments, etc
  • My own work schedule (including whether I am in our out of town)
  • Important dates in my husband’s diary
  • The lift scheme (what can I manage and where do I need to call for support from friends, family or the school bus?)
  • Birthdays (your own family and other special people in your life)
  • Meals for the week
  • Groceries that must be bought (and any birthday presents too), and I am sure I have forgot something!

Well that’s just for starters. There are always other things that crop up to complicate matters such as your preschooler being Bakerman for the week and you have to come up with 24 ‘somethings’ that match the theme, or your child’s class is doing Cake & Candy and you need to make 50 packets of popcorn the night before or, after a hectic day of work and chasing after children you have to go back to school for a parent-teacher meeting and now you need to arrange a babysitter. The list goes on……….

No wonder my sister thinks she will qualify to become a logistics manager. I am sure she will take over running the whole company!

Just one extra thing to keep in mind though…….

Plan B

For your own sanity and your child’s peace of mind, make sure that in all this planning that you all know what Plan B is, should:

  • It rain and a sports fixture is cancelled
  • Your child feels sick at school
  • You get caught in a meeting or traffic and are going to be late/don’t arrive on time
  • You have a family crisis such as an accident, illness or death in the family, etc

Life happens and kids need to know what they should do and what will happen if such situations arise.  

  • Who must they talk to? (a teacher, school secretary etc)
  • Which other parents do you trust, who you would send in your place?
  • Some parents have a code word or number that they give their children and in a crisis, another parent who collects them out of the blue, will know the code and the kids will know this is a safe person.
  • If your child has a cellphone, do they have the phone numbers of five people they could call in a crisis?
Do invest in your social network (in the real world with parents in your child’s school environment) so that if you have to call for help, you know you have back up and, by the same token, you can be the back up plan for others when in need.

The school secretary

Today, technology often enables us to contact teachers directly via email or cellphone, however if they are teaching they may not look at these devices until the end of the day when the children have left, which doesn’t help you.  And even if your child has a cellphone, in primary school it shouldn’t be on during class, they may have to hand them in during the school day to the teacher, and even when they have them on their person, they may not answer them.

If you have a very urgent message to get to your child, the school secretary is still the most reliable person to ensure the message is delivered.  She is the one who gets a big plate of home-baked Scottish Flapjacks at the end of every year from me.  She is my ‘go to person’.  Make sure you know who she is!

Reduce your family stress all round and become and effective family logistics manager and make sure you have a back up plan. Mission Control, here I come!

Click here for Sanity Saver #1
Click here for Sanity Saver #2
Click here for Sanity Saver #3
Click here for Sanity Saver #4
Click here for Sanity Saver #5
Click here for Sanity Saver #6
Click here for Sanity Saver #7

Click here to watch my back-to-school television interview on SABCTV3’s Expresso on 14 January 2015.