Back to school: life hacks for the new school year

The summer holidays are almost at an end (sob!). Here's how to make the going back to school process as painless as possible - for pupils and parents

Going back to school after the long summer holidays can be tough on parents as well as kids. There's stationery to stock up on, school uniforms to be washed, homework to be enforced and children to be cajoled back into unpopular daily routines.

As ever, preparation is a parent's best line of defence, so we've come up with a list of handy life hacks to help you master the school schedule once and for all.

room with white wall and wooden peg rail and chair

(Image credit: TBC)

Everything in its right place

Morning has broken and the sound of milk floats and birdsong is interrupted by a wailing cry: "Wheeere's my jumper? Wheeeere's my lunch box? Wheeeeeere's my school bag?"

Sound familar? Avoid the morning chaos by setting up a 'ready zone' where everything - and we mean everything - your child will need for the next school day is lined up waiting for them to grab in an instant. Colour-coded or named hallway hooks are a godsend in households with multiple school-age children.

silver alarm clock with wheels

(Image credit: TBC)

Make sure they wake up... and stay up

Voice going hoarse from shouting out unheeded wake-up calls? Let Clocky the alarm clock do the hard work for you.

This cute little time tyrant gives kids just one chance to get out of bed when the
alarm goes off. Ignore him, and he zooms off the bedside table and races
around the room, beeping until you get out of bed and catch him.
Literally a case of you snooze, you lose!

kitchen with dining table and white wall with wooden floor

(Image credit: TBC)

Lay the breakfast table the night before

It's amazing how the smallest job can seem insurmountable before 8am. Make life easier for yourself in the mornings by setting the breakfast table as soon as you've cleared the dinner table.

Better still, leave easy-to-serve foods such as cereal within grabbing distance so the kids can help themselves, while you enjoy a nice cup of coffee.

green colour lunch box with stickers

(Image credit: TBC)

Healthy lunch boxes - made easy

Everyone wants their kids to eat a healthy, balanced lunch, but making sure they get the right amount of everything they need can be easier said than done when you're in a rush.

This bento-style lunch box does the planning for you, with its brightly labelled compartments telling you exactly which and how much of each food group to include. Kids will love it, too, thanks to the central compartment that's just big enough to sneak in a little sweet treat.

room with grey wall and and calender and desk

(Image credit: TBC)

Stay on top of the schedule

A good noticeboard and/or calendar is an essential part of any parenting kit - if you stay on top of both, your organisation skills will be invincible!

A chalkboard wall is a great, reusable option for to-do lists, reminders and calendars. Choose a different colour chalk for each member of the family so everyone can see at a glance which notes apply to them.

If you go for magnetic chalkboard paint, you can also use your chalkboard as a place to keep important school letters and works of art that your children bring home.

room with white wall with shelves and desk

(Image credit: TBC)

Create a homework zone

Homework is a drag, but a dedicated study space will help your child to conquer it quickly and efficiently.

If you're short on space, a wall-mounted, fold-out desk is a great way to set up a mini study in a bedroom or living room corner. And once the work is done, everything can be shut out of sight and out of mind until the next homework session.

Still struggling to beat the back to school blues? Take a look at these five reasons to love the new school term