When I was a new school Mum, I found the whole school routine a lot.
As the term went on, we added more and more and more to the calendar.
Different uniforms for different days, school readers, Library day...
Our mornings became a full on stress zone. “Do you have your hat!? Do you have your library bag!? OH NO it’s not sports day because it’s week b!!!”.
I am a super busy but no fuss kinda planning girl, despite owning a stationery shop - I actually don’t do a LOT of paper planning.
I’m what you would call a hybrid planner. I use my phone for a lot of things on the go. I shop online for groceries so I don’t really meal plan very much anymore.
I have 3 kids and they are all 3 years apart so they have different needs.
I NEED a schedule, but I don’t like rigidity and I am not good at deep planning so I invented this planning method that actually works!
It’s super easy and takes about 25 minutes once a Month and 1-2 minutes once a week. So if you’re a bit like me, you LOVE to be organised and know what’s going on but don’t want to spend hours planning I GOT YOUUUUUUU!
What you need:
- A bunch of coloured pens, I use Staedtler
- A large box format calendar
- A pencil, I also love the HB staedtler but any pencil works!
- Optional: A set of stickers (choose your own aesthetic, or a highlighter can work too). Check out our sticker range here.
- This plan (it comes free with the calendars) it has visual images and a step by step guide of how to make this work for you.
How to make it work for you
As soon as your term timetable is released set yourself 20 minutes and a clear table and pull up your calendar (you'll probably just need two terms) and allllll your pens.
Now, set yourself a scheme. Don’t think too much about it. Break your items down into what makes your mornings easier.
For me it’s a colour for each of these - of course, you’ll have your own categories.
- NEED TO PACK
- EXTRA CURRICULAR/SPORTS/ACTIVITIES ETC
- AFTER / BEFORE SCHOOL PLANS (PICKUP ETC)
- SOCIAL EVENTS
- WORK COMMITMENTS
Pull up the months you’re using for the school term and have them both in front of you (I also will reference the school newsletter here)
Start with one item, don’t go day by day. First, plug in what’s required each day for uniforms, if they wear a standard uniform most of the time, don’t put that in there, just write SPORTS on sports/PE days. You don’t need to overcomplicate it.
Continue with every other items with a new colour each item. *Hint* don’t put in items that you know, ie. don’t write “school 9-3”, that’s already assumed and not needed. Only add items that you might need reminding.
If you have multiple kids in school who need organising (at some point they will get their own calendar to manage, but you could add their initial next to each item or split the calendar in half with a dotted line.
GOAL: To put ALL the info for the term in at once.
However you co-ordinate the colours/themes doesn’t matter as long as it makes sense for you.
*hint* for kindy kids, you could use pictures or stickers to help them remember. eg: “Blue star days are sports uniform days”
Now, use your pencil to pencil in any “possible” items that may change in the future. This can always be rubbed out and redone.
If you can, once a week (with your partner if there is one, or with the kids if they are older) have a quick 2 minute family meeting to discuss the plans for the week or add any new items you may have booked but not written.
How to work the hybrid system
When you are out and about, use your phone to add things to your calendar. I will often find myself in a doctors app making a booking for the next one or making weekend plans with friend, so I’ll put it in my phone calendar but then on a Sunday (or whatever day Family meeting happens) I’ll have a quick glance ahead at what’s been put into my calendar and transfer it to the wall calendar or vice versa.
How it works in the morning
My eldest daughter LIVES by this method. When she gets up in the morning she references the wall calendar. She loves to use either stickers or a coloured highlighter to tick or sticker the day.
She will check which uniform she has and my husband will also reference it to see what he needs to pack or if there’s anything he needs to know.
We have removed the morning "thinking". It's all written clearly, it's easy to reference.
We don’t over-schedule, if we know what days our daughter has preschool, we don’t need to write that in. We only write in what needs to be noted or remembered.
The point of this is to remove the morning stress, to keep everyone on track.
I also love that my daughter sees the value in planning. As she is getting older, I will encourage her to add her own events on as she has them.
I hope this helps your school days as it has helped mine!
Your friend & fellow mum in the trenches - Bella