Back-to-School Ready: Gearing Up for a New School Year
In a flash, summer’s lazy days will give way to the roller coaster of activity otherwise known as the school year. While back-to-school time is always exciting and fun, it can also be a somewhat stressful transition from the generally more relaxed days and evenings of summer. But keeping everyone on track and maintaining your sanity can be a snap— just plan ahead a little bit. Here are some of our best tips on how to help smooth the way from summer to school.
The start of the school year definitely means an influx of all sorts of new stuff to your home. How to keep everything under control and make sure your kids have everything they need for the days ahead?
- You probably got a list of required supplies from the teacher at the end of the previous school year. Use it to shop the local sales and scoop up bargains as early as you can.
Click here for a list of items you can get while you’re doing the grocery shopping.
- Label everything. Use a permanent marker for fabric items. For the rest, just print off a sheet or two of small return address labels with your child’s name and classroom number.
- Set up an in/out tray where the kids can deposit every day’s paperwork in the “in” box, and you can put the papers that need to go back in the “out” box. Set up a designated folder with the rest of your family paperwork for “important” papers like permission slips, report cards, etc.
- Every day there will be drawings, stories, spelling tests, math worksheets and other examples of your kids’ handiwork coming home with them. Is every single assignment worth saving? Have the kids help you pick out the most special to save for posterity. Another idea—photograph every art project, then toss it. Use an online service and have your photos printed into a book (try shutterfly.com or snapfish.com).
During the school year your entire family’s summer schedule it more laid-back. Here are some suggestions on how to make the schedule switch as painlessly as possible:
- Help avoid nighttime meltdowns and alarm-clock rebellions by starting to gradually dial back bedtime and rise-and-shine-time a couple of weeks before school starts.
- Start cutting out “grazing” between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner. Keep closer track of snack time; you might want to consider scheduling one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon snack and leaving it at that.
- Once the school year starts, everyone’s activity schedule gets plenty more complicated, with extracurricular activities, sports practices, study groups, playdates, household chores, homework, birthday parties...you get the idea. Find a dry-erase calendar that you can customize. Use a different color marker for each family member’s schedule—that way, it’s easy to tell at-a-glance who has soccer on Tuesday and who has piano. And if something changes, it’s a snap to correct it.
How do you eliminate the back-to-school morning rush? With a bit of pre-planning and a lot of organization. Try these tips to keep morning mayhem to a minimum.
- If you have room, it can be effective to have a designated space by the door for each family member’s daily “stuff.” Get each child a small plastic storage bin that is large enough to hold a backpack, lunchbox, boots, etc., and make sure everything is in its place every evening. Not only is it a good means of clutter containment, but it makes finding everything each morning a no-brainer.
- Make wardrobe selection a snap with a closet organizer. Invest in a five-compartment hanging sweater bag (one compartment for every day of the week). Every Sunday night, determine the outfits for the week and put everything in the organizer.
- Stock up on healthy and quick breakfast options like whole-grain cereals and bagels, and fresh fruit like apples and bananas that can easily be eaten on the go.
Click here for morning recipes you can whip up together in a flash.