With the start of school, families face new organizational challenges. Paper piles swell, hand-outs, homework and school projects take over the kitchen table. Shorter autumn days bring a hectic round of sports, activities, events, and calendars filled with back to school nights and holiday recitals. With so much going on its time to get organized so families can have a great year of learning and fun. Use these ideas to prepare your home and family for the busy days ahead.
Ease into a school year schedule
The first day of school is no time for a drastic adjustment of household sleep schedules. Instead, ease children back into a school year routine gradually. During the last few weeks of summer re-introduce a school year bedtime. Begin waking late sleepers earlier and earlier; closer to the hour they’ll need to rise when school begins. Don’t forget about mealtimes, summer tends to lend itself to later and inconsistent mealtimes and children need to adapt to meal routines before the school day demands it of them.
Back to school shopping
August is the second-biggest sales month for clothing retailers. Back to school clothing sales begin as early as July! Are you prepared to run the school clothes gauntlet? Take an afternoon and assess each child’s clothing needs. Empty drawers and closets of outgrown or worn-out clothing, and donate the discards. Work with your child to clean and organize clothing storage before new garments are added. Develop a wardrobe needs list for each child and discuss the needs list and the family budget with your children before you shop, you’ll avoid in-the-store tantrums.
Similarly, ask the school for classroom supply lists before shopping for school supplies. Go through those backpacks and desks looking for any supplies still in great shape or unused. Put all supplies in a central location before writing your list that way you’ll know exactly what you need. For book lists, look online or in second hand bookstores to save a bit; also, don’t forget to check the older siblings’ shelves!
Gather your papers
School entry may require documentation from immunization records to proof of residency and athletes need proof of medical examination. A little preparation can prevent frantic last-minute searches for a birth certificate or registration confirmation. Call your child’s school or check the school district web site beforehand to find out what paperwork will be required. You won’t be sorry come registration day.
Make a practice run
How will children get to school? The first day of school is no time to find out it takes ten minutes not five to walk to the nearest bus stop! Before school begins, make a practice run to get children to school on time. If they’ll walk, help them learn the route they’ll take and note the time needed. Car-pooling? Make sure the dry run accounts for early-morning traffic. Bus riders will need to be familiar with the location of the bus stop; print and post the bus schedule to prevent a missed bus.
Create a calendar command center
Nothing reduces school year chaos like a Calendar Command Center- a centralized site for all family calendars and schedules. You’ll need a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs and volunteer work. Use different colors for different events and use red for those special events you won’t want to miss; now you have a one-stop shop for family time management. Post the family event calendar in a public place or enter events into a digital family calendar so no one forgets that baseball practice or piano lesson.
Take aim at morning madness
How are school mornings in your home? Crazed and chaotic, or calm and cheerful? Plan ahead to be able to send your children out the door ready for the day. Each evening, think ahead to the following morning; where can you lighten the load? Make part of your children’s bed time routine to lay out their outfit the night before. Have them load backpacks with homework, projects or library books. Make sure musical instruments and sports bags are ready to go. What do you do about books and papers, lunch money and permission slips? Practice the Launch Pad concept by creating a dedicated box or folder for every family member, a Launch Pad gets the family out the door and organized.
Is your home feeling too crowded even with additional organization? It may be time to upgrade to a bigger home and make those school year mornings flow more smoothly; nothing slows down carpool like a crowded household all trying to get ready at once. For all your real estate needs Palisade Realty is here to assist you, please call us at (619) 794-0218 or send a contact request here Palisade Realty.