Ah, back-to-school time – an annual ritual that seems to arrive too quickly every year (or too late, depending on who you ask). Here are five tips to ease the transition from carefree summer days to early alarm clocks, hectic mornings, and homework:
Set up a homework station
Designate a place where kids can focus on their homework with few distractions. Make sure it’s stocked with all the essential supplies, including pencils, pens, erasers, paper, crayons, markers and a calculator. This will prevent the all-too-often frantic search for supplies before tackling homework. Also, choose someplace quiet that is preferably not in the same room as a TV or video games.
Plan school outfits weekly
On Sunday evening, set aside a few minutes with each child to choose their clothing for the upcoming week. Purchase a hanging day-of-the-week clothes organizer so your kids know exactly what to put on each morning, and you’ll avoid having to scour closets and drawers frantically to find clean jeans.
Organize lunches in advance
Streamline the morning school lunch-assembly madness by organizing two lunch kits – one in your fridge and one in your pantry. The refrigerator basket or tray should hold everything needed to make a sandwich, along with washed fruit and veggies, yogurts and cheese sticks. The station in your pantry or cupboard should contain single servings of other snacks, such as pretzels, cookies and juice boxes.
Keep kids’ schedules on a large calendar
Write each child’s list of activities and appointments on a large desk or wall calendar, using a different colored highlighter for each kid. That way, everyone in the family can simply search for their assigned color to find out what’s going on each day.
Create a system for papers
Purchase a filing system to organize the constant stream of papers kids bring home from school each day. Set aside a shelf or draw for each child’s homework, as well as one for special papers you want to keep like art projects and certificates. You can also designate a shelf for important papers that need your immediate attention, like permission slips.
While no amount of organizing will completely prevent the hectic pace of back-to-school, with these tips, at least you’ll be a little more prepared.