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Are You Ready for Back to School?

It’s that time of year again.  The pools are closed, the days get shorter, the alarm clocks ring earlier, and the schedules get crazier.

The hardest part is getting back into the swing of things after months off from hectic days of scheduled classes, sports practice, homework and other extracurricular activities.

Here are some tips to make this difficult transition a little easier:

  1.  Prepare for the flood of paper. There are always tons of papers that seem to appear when the kids go back to school: permission slips, health forms, school supplies lists. Set up a filing system or scan them into your computer so things don’t get misplaced or are easily found when things get hectic.
  2. Post your children’s class schedule where’s it’s easily seen. Color code each child or specific activities so there are no conflicts when scheduling.
  3. Create a homework station. Have an assigned clean area with no distractions for the kids to do their homework. Put all the supplies they would need in a central location, so they’re easily accessible. It’s also good for you to be able to walk by periodically and check on their work.
  4. Avoid morning chaos.  Set the family table for breakfast the night before. Get lunches packed or leave lunch money out so you’re not frantic or forgetting when the kids are rushing off to school. Pick out outfits or lay out clothing in the evening so there are no arguments in the morning when you’re pressed for time.
  5. Plan a bathroom schedule. Anyone who is in a multi-child household knows how crazy the morning can be when sharing or waiting to use the bathroom. Get a timer (Amazon offer good deals on timers) and put a limit on how much time each child has to get ready.
  6. Shop the closets.  Before hitting stores, take a good look a what’s already there.  Do an inventory and make a list, this way you’re not spending extra money on things your kids  already have. There may be clothes that are trendy again, or even things you can donate.
  7. Keep receipts. Colored pens look cool in the store, but the teacher may request that students use pencil only. If you have to return anything, you’ll be able to get your money back.
  8. Start interviewing babysitters. Knowing there are people who your children are comfortable with will make it much easier when you have “Back To School” night, parent-teacher meetings other events when you’ll have to leave the kids a home.
  9. Now that you’re not seeing your kids as much, make it a point to set aside quality time to spend with them. Don’t answer cell phones or watch TV. Ask about their day, friends and school projects.
  10. Take it all in stride. It’s easy to give advice, but things happen that throw the best laid out schedules into havoc. Knowing that this happens will help you cope better when it does. What is hectic now becomes fond memories later. Enjoy every moment…it goes by so fast!

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