Yes, I know it’s still July – at least for one more day. But here in the South, it actually is Back to School season! I went with my son today to get his schedule and textbooks as his first day of school is this Wednesday. Tax free holidays and back to school sales are upon us and even with 90 degree temperatures, the reality is hitting that it’s time to hit the books once again. How can you make this school smoother for everyone in your home? Here are a few tips that I help will get you all started on the right foot…
Establish morning and bedtime routines. Sure everyone starts out getting up on time, but it won’t be long before the alarm clock rings, feet are not hitting the floor in time and the rushing begins. Be realistic about what time you need to be up and out the door. What can be done the night before to make the mornings easier? Stock the house with protein filled, grab and go breakfasts, snacks and easy to pack lunch items. Menu plan your dinners, agree upon technology rules (ideally phones get turned off 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime) and put good bedtime routines into place.
Designate a convenient area near where you enter and exit your home as a dumping ground/launching pad area. Backpacks, sports/band equipment, projects, etc are placed there at night, ready to go to school the next morning. About once a month, clear this area out so it stays well maintained and not too cluttered.
Discuss and agree on a system for handling papers that need to be reviewed and signed by parents, such as field trip permission forms, invitations, etc. The kids need to know where to put them when emptying their backpacks and parents need to have a designated place to put them for the child to take back to school.
Stock up but assess first! 10 cent folders and other uber cheap school supplies are tempting. Gather up all the supplies you currently have at home and conduct an inventory to see what you truly need. You may actually have an ample supply of pencils and folders. But now is the time to stock up on these supplies for the year. Make sure all the kids in the family know where extra supplies are kept and determine how to communicate with you that they are running low on an item or need specific project supplies. We all hate those post-dinner, “I need poster board for a project due tomorrow!” declarations.
Set up a system for old papers and art work to be housed. Go through it regularly, purge and have a place to store the keepers. Not all math worksheets and drafts of lit papers need to be kept. Be vigilant in what you keep. If it’s a keepsake, then put it in appropriate keepsake bins that you have for each child. If it’s papers that they no longer need to carry back and forth but will need to reference for future exams, set up subject files for them to be kept.
Most of all, breathe! It’s always hard to transition back into school routines. But the more prepared, organized and set up you are, the smoother it will be. Good luck and I wish you all a successful school year!