Move over, summer– a new school year is coming!
With the start of school, families face new organization challenges.
School bells ring– and so do early-morning alarm clocks.
Paper piles swell as hand-outs and homework stream into the house.
Get organized now for the best school year ever! Use these ideas to prepare your home and family for the busy days ahead.
Ease the family 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 two 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 neglect mealtimes! Younger children, in particular, need to adapt to new meal routines before the school day demands it of them. Plan meals and snacks to accustom little ones to rituals of the school day before the school year begins.
Create Calendar Central
Each school year floats on a sea of schedules. School functions. Lunch menus. Scout meetings and music lessons. What do you do when you’re drowning in paper? Nothing calms school year chaos like Calendar Central: 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. Add specialized calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.
Form is less important than function. A paper calendar with large squares lets you enter information easily. Pre-printed white board calendars are easy to revise when necessary. Color-coding entries by family member helps keep busy lives straight.
Paper planner fans dedicate a planner section to serve as Calendar Central, while tech-savvy cybergrrrlz store the info in a smart phone or tablet and sync with multiple computers. Choose a calendar format that works for your family.
Post the family event calendar in a public place near the telephone. Use magnets to attach the calendar to the refrigerator, or tack it to a bulletin board.
Add other calendars to Calendar Central: school lunch menus, class assignment sheets, sports practice schedules. When the room mother calls for field trip volunteers, you'll know at a glance whether you’re free to join the group on the bus that day.
Working with your child, clean and organize clothing storage before new garments are added– and cut down on school morning calls of “Mom! I don’t have any clean . . . . ”
Develop a wardrobe needs list for each child. Check for possible hand-me- downs from older siblings as you make your list. If you 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. Forewarned is forearmed … and helps protect the family budget.
Take aim on morning madness
How are school mornings in your home? Crazed and chaotic, or calm and cheerful? Plan ahead to send your schoolchildren– and yourself!– out the door in a happy frame of mind.
Each evening, think ahead to the following morning; where can you lighten the load? Set the breakfast table as you clear the dinner dishes, and make sure breakfast foods are easy to reach. Lay out children's clothing the night before. Scan backpacks or launch pad spaces for missing homework, projects or library books. Make sure musical instruments or sports bags are packed and ready to go.
Do bathroom wars" break out daily among the small fry? Multi-child households may need a bathroom schedule so that everyone gets equal time before the mirror.
Conquer the paper pile-up. Set up a basic home filing system to track school paperwork, volunteer activities and household planning.
Happy New School Year! Time to swing into a new school year– from an organized home.