Top 10 tips for multiples starting school in 2022

With 2022 underway, there is a whole new group of wide-eyed, eager and perhaps slightly anxious multiples heading into the start of their formal schooling adventure.

We asked our members with school-aged multiples for their advice on the best ways to get ready – here’s their top 10 tips!

1. Practice the basics

Simple tasks can become giant hurdles for little hands. Have your children practiced opening and closing their lunch boxes and school bags? Can your children fasten their shoes and have they been worn in properly? Can each child identify their own hat and water bottle? Practicing these simple things will build confidence and familiarity with frequently used items.

2. Accessing restrooms

Similar to the first tip, it’s also important that your children understand how to use and lock a toilet stall on their own. Whilst kids may have mastered their toileting some time ago, the layout and use of a school restroom can be overwhelming without a little bit of adult guidance.

3. Don’t miss a date

As the term moves on, it can be easy to lose track of important dates. So get in early and find the school calendar – mark all the important dates on your family calendar and make sure you check back regularly. Cross-check public holidays, school holidays and pupil free days. Whilst many schools have great communication, it’s important not to rely on reminders for critical dates, particularly if you are juggling dates across two classrooms in the same year level.

4. Together or apart?

This is a regular question for parents of twins and triplets – do you keep your children in the same class, or separate them (where available)? This decision will need to be based on the needs of each child and each family. We recommend engaging in the conversation early with your school’s staff to come up with an ideal plan. The insight of kindergarden and daycare educators can also be invaluable here.

Maintaining open dialogue on this issue during the early weeks and months of this process is also vital – don’t be afraid to ask questions of teachers and get updates about their progress. If you don’t feel comfortable about how they are progressing, then raise it as a matter for further discussion. Finally, try not to be swayed by the opinions of others on this topic – what works for one family, may not work for another.

5. Getting shirty

There are a number of special days / events celebrated throughout the school year and children are often asked to wear a specific colour for each occasion. In conjunction with marking these important dates in your calendar, consider having a small stash of plain coloured T-shirts in each colour set aside at the beginning of the year. This will be so much easier than trying to hunt around the night before!

6. Group support

Find out early if your child’s class or year level has a social media group chat for parents. Quite often these are started by parents (not the school) and are a great way to get further information and connect with other parents. Some smaller schools will also have a school-wide group that you can join for more general information.

7. Which one is which?

A perennial issue for parents of identical multiples – with each year comes a new set of teaching staff that need to learn how to tell your children apart. Is there a way you can identify each child within the parameters of the school’s dress code? Some clever ideas here include coloured hair ribbons, different hair cuts, distinct shoe laces, or a pin / ribbon / initial on their shirt.

8. Label, label, label

Whilst not the most exciting of jobs, labelling school items is so important. There is a huge variety of labels for different materials, so do some research to see what system works best for you. Hopefully you will save some money and frustration in the long run, particularly if you have more than one set of everything to lose!

9. Vacation care head start

If your school offers a vacation care program, consider enrolling your children for a season or two before school starts. This will give them the opportunity to get a feel for the school environment, familiarise themselves with the facilities and get to know some of the school systems without the pressure of crowds.

10. Secondhand uniforms

Another expensive hurdle for families of multiples is a lack of hand-me-downs, especially if your twins / triplets are different sexes or wearing the same clothing size at the same time. Reach out to the secondhand uniform shop or the local buy/sell/swap page to see what you can find. Explain that you are shopping for multiples so that everyone understands you’re trying to clothe more than one child at the same time!

Bonus tip

A final bonus tip for all our amazing parents of multiples – starting school can be emotionally and physically exhausting for you too. Whilst you’re no longer in the midst of the newborn or toddler phase usually associated with peak exhaustion levels, school is likely to bring some other challenges that you will need to be ready to tackle. So, be kind on yourself. Seek help when you need it. Accept those moments when you need to rest, particularly into the end of the school year when energy reserves are depleted.

Hopefully 2022 will see us through without as many challenges as the 2021 schooling year. Wishing all our multiples families a seamless and exciting transition to the new school year in 2022 – we can’ t wait to see all the cute Prep photos!

What does 100% volunteer actually mean?

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the TIME, they just have the HEART”

Elizabeth Andrew

BMBAN is proudly a 100% volunteer organisation, run entirely by members. The quote above sums up our volunteers to perfection.

But what does it actually take to run our organisation and to keep it running for 44 years? Quite simply? A lot of hard work.

Executive and governance functions

Our Executive (President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary) remain responsible for the management of BMBAN in accordance with our Constitution, By-Laws, any legislative requirements, and in accordance with sound financial practice. It’s a mouthful, and it’s a lot of work. Some of these tasks include:

  • Annual reporting to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC)
  • Annual reporting to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
  • Annual independent financial auditing and certification of financial records
  • Processing payments with dual approval (i.e. every payment is authorised by two people)
  • Keeping up to date with any changes to the not-for-profit governing guidelines
  • In conjunction with our amazing bookkeeper, reconciling every single payment received
  • In conjunction with our lovely Membership Secretary, recording particulars of all members, Committee Members and periods of service
  • Budgeting to ensure the Club remains financially viable
  • Coordinating the roles performed by the other general Committee Members
  • Conducting and running monthly Committee Meetings, as well as the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Annual Planning Meeting
  • Maintaining minutes of meetings and attendance registers.
  • Applying for grants, with many applications taking many hours of preparation and drafting
  • Ensuring we have adequate insurance
  • Maintaining the goals and objectives of the Club and providing value for money to our members

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive. The time spent by key Committee Members on these tasks is extensive – a number of hours each week at peak times, with increased workload in the lead up to certain events and reporting timeframes.

Day-to-day functions

In conjunction with the Executive, the balance of our Committee performs a wide variety of functions critical to the day-to-day running of the Club.

Every single event, every single function and and every single social media post, blog (like this one!), website update, poster and trailer of goods loaded has been prepared by a volunteer. Everything. Every time you see a member volunteering to set up or run an event, there is someone else at home coordinating kids or other home functions. Amazing. It’s like double the volunteer (it seems giving double (or triple!) is something our members are quite clever at, apparently!).

Every time you see a member hosting a playgroup, remember, they are volunteering every minute of their own time to be there. Every toy they clean afterwards, every cupboard they pack away, all on their own time.

Every time you ask a question, someone is there to answer.

Have a think about all of these:

  • The time, effort and resources that have gone into creating, refining and presenting our Expectant Parents’ Night – so much invaluable information and every single minute volunteered over many, many years
  • Every message and phone call to an overwhelmed parent of multiples – the conversations, the coffees, the support and the care
  • Every event we promote has been coordinated by a volunteer – sourcing venues, third party suppliers, equipment, managing COVID-19 compliance and restrictions, coordinating volunteers to set up and pack up, messages and phone calls, emails, text messages. Everything.
  • How many grants we have applied for – every single application requiring unique information and submissions. Every single one requiring quotes from vendors and suppliers – every email, every phone call following that up, every single time the application is denied, despite the hard work
  • The website you’re looking at – built and maintained entirely by a volunteer with zero experience in IT or web development. The domains that are managed across our public website and our Tidy HQ member site. The email and electronic filing system maintained by our committee members
  • The heartbreaking conversations with bereaved families
  • Coordinating the social media pages – responding to queries and requests on our member pages, ensuring that our member page is up to date, advertising functions and events across all of our member pages, managing and posting on our social media channels
  • Scheduling and running monthly Committee meetings, contributing to those committee meetings with ideas and information
  • Media releases, coordinating with other public resources that can assist in promoting the club
  • Requesting and securing every single member discount
  • Coordinating delivery of goods and equipment to members in need. Reaching out to local businesses for their help and assistance for member families.
  • Answering member questions. Answering non-member questions. Monitoring the Club’s phone.
  • Organising our mum / dad catch ups – and negotiating time off with whoever is left at home!
  • Handing over roles between departing and incoming Committee members.
  • Running the Bunnings BBQ (and not burning the snags!)
  • Maintaining the storage shed, making sure we have adequate equipment and resources on hand, when needed. Collecting equipment and delivering it to members when they need it.
  • All of the COVID-19 requirements and restrictions – making sure we comply with every single directive.

Again, this list isn’t exhaustive in any way. And it changes, week-by-week, month-by-month, year-by-year. But if you count those hours up… WOW!

So, to our past and present volunteers, you are amazing. We are so proud to be amongst you all. And to any members who hasn’t yet volunteered, please consider putting your hand up – because without volunteers, we can’t continue on for the next 44 years.

Much love xx

Volunteers giving by the ute (and trailer) load!

Brisbane Multiple Birth Association Northside Inc. (BMBAN) celebrates National Volunteer Week 2021 with a triumphant display of community giving.

Brisbane — 16 May 2021 — Today marked the return of BMBAN’s popular Pre-Loved Baby & Kids Market, the first conducted since COVID-19, supporting both multiple birth families and the general public in need of pre-loved children’s clothing.

“Year on year, the donations coming in from all parts of the Brisbane community multiply, and this year is no exception. We have trailers and utes full of donations and an army of supporters behind us in hosting this event” said President, Tiffany Visser. 

Challenges to volunteering during COVID-19

Like many non-profit organisations, BMBAN has struggled to maintain volunteer numbers and engagement with its members in the midst of social distancing, financial constraints and other issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The last 12 months have been incredibly challenging for our members, and in turn our Committee, which is 100% run by member volunteers,” said Vice President, Amy Lucas.

Despite these challenges, BMBAN is determined to celebrate the achievements of its volunteers during National Volunteer Week and relish the glimpse of what things could look like in the future. “Our volunteers deserve all the recognition this week. BMBAN was established in 1977 and with the dedication of our volunteers, we are determined to see BMBAN through the turbulence of this pandemic, to see it passed on to a new generation of multiple birth families”, said Ms Visser.

National Volunteers Week

National Volunteers Week formally commences on 17 May 2021. It is spearheaded by Volunteering Australia and pays homage to the over 700,000 Queenslanders and over 6 million Australians who volunteer their time, making an extraordinary impact on individuals and communities. BMBAN is an entirely volunteer-run organisation and so National Volunteers Week goes straight to the heart and soul of the group.

The success of the event

BMBAN helped 58 of its member families shop for pre-loved clothing, for free. It also helped another 52 families from the public for only $10 per bag, enabling many families to stock up, just in time for winter. The excess donations are now on their way to Baby Give Back, a non-profit organisation that helps families in crisis. We couldn’t be happier that our volunteers’ efforts will continue on to help other families in need.

We encourage you all to use this week to thank a volunteer, and the people standing behind them that allow them to give their time to worthy causes. Because, after all, #volunteersrock