Back to school season means that families need to get acclimated to new and more hectic routines. Getting things done quicker and more efficiently is critical to avoid chaos and added stress. Not to worry, we have some helpful planning tips that will keep your family’s new routine running smoothly.
Evaluate and estimate your kid’s needs
Kids grow fast. Last year parents spent an average of $510 per kid on apparel, school supplies and electronics during the back-to-school shopping season, but don’t let that scare you. You can prepare your kids without breaking the bank. Go through the closets and dressers and donate what doesn’t fit and throw away what isn’t good. Then check the school’s website and find out if there is a list of required supplies. Depending on the student’s age, sometimes they have one, sometimes they don’t. You might find that you can get away with less than you think. Once you establish what you need, head to your favorite browser and search “Back to School… specials, or sales or deals.” You will find treasure trove decent sale items that last well into September. Teachers recommend that you get color-coded folders for each of your kid’s subjects so they can quickly find the homework they need.
Don’t miss important dates
Most schools will have a Google, iCal, or Outlook calendar where you can subscribe to and add all the essential dates in one click. If you can’t find it in the school handbook, you can always search online by typing the school’s name + calendar.
Set your family’s daily routine
Now that you have what you need—and eliminating what you don’t—its time to get organized. Activities like sports, music, clubs, etc., require a well-honed system just to keep up with the faster pace. Let’s start when the alarm clock sounds.
Turn the morning chaos to calm—How are the mornings in your home? Crazed? Or calm? The best way to leave the house in a happy frame of mind is to plan the night before.
- If you have more the one kid, getting the proper “mirror time” is important. Sharing the bathroom in the morning can lead to fights and unnecessary delays. Set a schedule for who goes first and how long they get.
- For younger kids, set out clothes the night before and make sure their backpack is ready to go; i.e., homework, gym clothes, music instruments, etc. Let’s be honest, sometimes you need to do this for older kids, but it is best if they can do this for themselves as early as possible, hopefully before they go off to college!
Create evening rituals—When the kids come home from school, there will be a lot of papers stacking up; from homework, school projects, permission slips, and more than you can imagine. How do you manage it all? Let’s face it, this can be overwhelming. Here are some thoughts on keeping it all organized:
- Have a snack waiting when they get home. Obviously, healthy snackes are better, like protein-rich snacks like hard-boiled eggs, protein bars, veggies and dip, peanut butter, nuts, etc. As they snack, that’s a great time to go through their backpack and fill out paperwork immediately and put them back into their bags.
- Save important papers and emails where you can easily find them. Create a folder in your email inbox to file essential emails and phone lists from teachers. Have a designated folder or drawer for each kid to keep all of the stuff that they bring home—especially in the first couple of weeks.
- Create a designated time for homework. Find the time that works best for your kids. Early in the evening is better. Playtime is less stressful if homework isn’t hanging over their heads.
- Kids have so many distractions, from TV and Netflix to video games and friends, homework time can be full of distractions. Create an environment for learning. Try turning off all electronic devices and play soft-focus music in the background to help the kids focus during homework time.
Now that you’ve done your homework take a deep breath. The important thing is that if you’re relaxed and calm, your kids will feel it too. So when they leave for school in the mornings, you’ll know they will have a great year!