| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Be prepared!

Whether the last academic year was one you’d rather forget or this is your first foray into school life, we’re here to help you make this a term to remember for all the right reasons

Nothing really prepares you for the relentless morning dash that is the school run. And the fact that Dubai’s school days start so flippin’ early doesn’t really help matters either. But that time between getting up and dropping the little terrors at the school gates doesn’t have to filled with stress and frenzied activity – as long as you make sure you’re prepared for the task. Read on for some great advice by mums who’ve been there, done that...

I can’t believe the holidays are over!
No, neither can we! But the first day back after two – or even three – whole months away from school can be a real shock to the children too. Try to prepare your brood mentally for their return to the classroom for the last couple of weeks of their holiday. Start to talk about how they will soon see their friends again, discuss the new class they might be moving into, and (this is especially important for little ones) keep reminding them that they will soon be going back to school soon so that they don’t just wake up on the first day back and get a nasty shock when presented with their new uniform. This will be asking for trouble.

Shopping trips for new school stuff can help soften the blow too, especially if fancy stationery and a new trendy school bag are involved. Try to make the trip for new school things a fun experience, by letting your children have freedom of choice (within reason) and perhaps round the session off with a treat – a trip to KidZania, for example. This way, next year, they’ll look forward to the annual school stock-up shopping excursion, and it will help prepare them mentally for the back-to-school experience.

Surviving the daily school run
Organiser extraordinaire Anna Williams, a part-time copy writer from Jumeirah, tells us how she keeps her own unruly rabble in check. She strongly advises that you print out your kids’ weekly schedules and stick them somewhere prominent, like on the fridge. ‘Pack their bags with homework, library books, signed forms and sports or music gear the night before, then set them out beside the door,’ she says. ‘That way, all you have to do is grab and go.’ Sounds good to us.

Anna’s ‘night before’ approach also extends way beyond school bags: setting out clean, ironed clothes (right down to underwear) for the following day can help you avoid the last-minute ‘I can’t find my pants!’ emergency. As Anna says, ‘Finding out that all the socks are dirty is a real situation at 7.30am – but not so much at 7.30pm.’ One of the most headache-inducing things to try and sort out in the morning is their packed lunch – especially when you’ve already got breakfast on your, er, plate.

Unsurprisingly, Anna recommends preparing their lunch the night before too, but she also advises that you check on your brekkie supplies – bread, cereal, juice and so on. ‘There’s nothing worse than waking up and discovering there’s no milk,’ she says. If you don’t have enough fridge space for endless packed lunches and pints of milk, it’s worth considering investing in a small additional refrigerator.

Time Out Dubai,

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