Back to School often means a state of panic for us as I always leave it to the last mintue to get organised. At the same time of getting ready for school I am also running around like a headless chicken trying to achieve the impossible by ticking off the long list of things I had wanted to get done in the summer. Whilst the boys are always beyond excited to see their friends I find the thought of another school year a test to my organisational skills and a bit emotional as I think to myself about how quickly the boys are growing! As babies I couldn’t wait for them to reach major milestones but now at 7 and 4 I just wish time would slow down a bit.
Whether you are a stay at home or a working mum life is pretty hectic in Dubai and there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for the first day of term and the school year ahead. Here’s some of my top survival tips:
1. Choose a lunchbox that lasts
I love Beatrix NY lunch bags. Alister the Dinosaur started school last year in FS1 and is ready for the big move to FS2 and still looks pretty good thanks to the fact it’s ok for him to go in the dishwasher for a good clean every now and again. They are also a good size and you can get plenty in them.
2. Make snacks and lunch simple but healthy
When I see all the creative lunch box ideas on social media I often feel guilty for my lack of effort but I really don’t have the time or inclination at 6am to do it! My top domestic goddess tip however for cucumber is wrapping it in damp kitchen towel it keeps it moist.
3. I love the cuddledry snuggle towels for swimming lessons
William my youngest has a long walk from the swimming pool back to his classroom and this is a perfect size to keep him snug as a bug after his swim with a super cute hood and easy to use press stud around the neck. Whilst we are roasting now by mid term little one’s often feel the chill when they leave the pool.
4. Water Bottles
Having tried and tested so many different brands of water bottles Camelbak is our favourite one. Do make sure you get a replacement valve kit too as it helps you be prepared should one be chewed a bit too over zealously!
5. Buy a bubblebum booster seat
More often than not between your network of mums at school or nursery someone will be stuck in traffic at some point needing a helping hand at pick up and there will always be a playdate to sort too. The bubblebum is an excellent easy to store booster that comes in handy throughout the school year.
6. Stock up on birthday gifts ..
We seem to go to a lot of parties and I really think it saves so much time to stock up on some gifts so you don’t find yourself doing the last minute dash. I love crocodile creek puzzles, quirky items like the Vilac flash lights & magnets. There are some really great gift ideas under AED 100. All of which can be delivered to your door gift wrapped free of charge in Dubai!
7. Try not to overload your little ones with too many activities
Having learnt from my past mistakes with my eldest my top tip for the first term is to take it easy on after school activities and playdates. After the long summer break both of my boys are often exhausted those first few weeks and dragging them to activities can be fraught with tears and tantrums. Since we scaled back we all seem a lot happier and I certainly don’t screech as much in the afternoons!
8. Don’t beat yourself up
I can give you all the top tips on getting organised but however hard I try I find I am never on top of things during term time and far from the perfect parent. I have now decided that my top tip is to embrace the madness and not beat yourself up about things; like the time one of my boys was the only one in the school not dressed in green for eco day (and I was a class rep and sent the email to remind everyone!)
9. Remember the tissues
It’s a huge first step when you send your child off to school and nursery for the first time and I am sure I am not the only one to have a big weep about it and still do when they start a school year! When my youngest started nursery and then school he really struggled with saying good bye and I was often wracked with guilt and quite upset as I left for work (not that he saw it). However it didn’t last long and by the end of his first school year he was so happy and settled I barely got a goodbye!
If you have any top tips for surviving the madness of back to school we’d love you to share them with us.
Love Paula x Co Chief & Mother