September is here, and whether you like it or not, it's time to send the children back to school. After so long at home, it may be difficult to remember what the school run is even like, but it seems that within the next few weeks we’re all going to be attempting to get back to some kind of normal.
As there is so much uncertainty at the moment, the biggest favour we can all do ourselves is to be prepared, to try and make each morning as easy as possible. This is especially true if you are doing the school run for the first time this year, or if you have a new arrival who’ll be coming along with you.
The children who are going to school may be excited, happy, nervous terrified, or a combination of all of these. They may be loud, and demanding your attention. But however much they distract you, you need to make sure that you are also taking care of the baby.
Some preparation now will save you a lot of stress when school starts, so there are a few things you might want to be considering.
Firstly, organising uniform, equipment, lunches, and everything else for school-age children is complicated, so keep the things for your baby simple. Basic one-piece garments like sleepsuits are a great option because they can function as a whole outfit, especially those with enclosed feet - your baby is almost guaranteed to kick off socks or booties just at the wrong moment.
Bear in mind that, as we move into September, the weather is changeable with colder days interspersed with the warm ones. Keeping your baby warm is a top priority, especially if you walk to school. Layers that are easy to put on and remove, such as knitwear and coats, are often the easiest choice, and once the weather really starts to turn you should always bring a hat or have a coat with a hood. Here in the UK, we’re liable to experience all four seasons in one day; be prepared for hot sun, biting cold, torrential rain, and maybe even snow!
Thinking about how you’re going to carry or transport your baby is another important consideration, no matter how you get to school. If you drive, having the appropriate car seat already in position will save you a lot of time and allow you to ensure it is as safe as possible. You might also want to consider seat covers, window shades, and maybe even a car seat mirror, which is mounted to the back seat and allows you to keep an eye on your baby while you drive.
If you walk or take public transport, it’s worth thinking about whether you want to carry your baby in a sling or carrier, or if you would prefer a pushchair. A pushchair can be a little less tiring and usually has space to carry things like bags and supplies, but it also takes up a lot more space and often has to be folded on public transport.
It’s also a good idea to think about the other kinds of things you need to bring, and to have them ready to go in the morning. If it’s a five-minute walk to your school, you might not feel a need to bring things like nappies or feeding supplies. However, it’s always better to be prepared, and you probably at least need to bring some muslin cloths and extra clothes if the weather changes or your baby has any little accidents.
The transition back into routine is inevitably going to be stressful, especially this year. Whether you can’t wait for the peace and quiet or are dreading the stress of trying to get everyone out of the door, you are absolutely not alone. The best you can do for yourself and your family is to be prepared for anything; it might not all go according to plan, but trying your best is enough!