We’re already into August and the term “Back to School” is popping up all over. Before you get overwhelmed, consider these tips for easing back into the routine (and sometimes rat race) of September:
1. Go through the kids’ clothes to find out what still fits. Make a list of what they’ll need as far as shoes, clothes, jackets, etc. and go shopping for those items.
2. Pull out the required school supplies list and see what you already have in house. Check off what you have and take the list shopping to buy other supplies. Put everyone’s supplies in their backpack or a separate bag.
3. One week before school starts, (or at least a few days,) practice going to bed on time and waking up when you would need to for school. Use the extra time to spend outside in the morning, or catching up on things you wanted to do all summer.
4. If you don’t have one, make a file for “School Information” and “Kids Activities” for each child. This could be a hanging file or a pocket folder. If you have one from last year, weed out the old information and put in the new.
5. Decide where homework will be done. For younger children the kitchen or dining room table might work if they need help from parents. For older children a desk in their room is better for concentration.
6. Keep extra school supplies in a closet, credenza or in the child’s own desk or bedroom closet – whatever is closest to where they will do homework.
7. Use a personal labeler to label all coats, backpacks, pencil cases and binders that the kids will be taking to school each day.
8. During the first week of school find out what’s the best time for each child to do homework. Some want to get it done right away but others may need some downtime or outside time after school and work better after dinner. It all depends on the child’s personality and the family’s night time schedule.
9. Establish a morning routine for yourself and the kids. For non-readers you can make a pictogram of what they need to do in the morning: get dressed, make bed, eat breakfast, brush teeth. Older kids can also make their beds and straighten their bedroom.
10. Lay out clothes the night before or use a weekday clothes organizer which hangs from the closet pole and has large pockets for 5 days. You can put an entire outfit in these.
11. Hang a family calendar in your kitchen so everyone knows where they need to be each day. Also mark half days and days off so you know when you need to be home for the kids or have a babysitter.
12. Handle school papers and forms every day. If you’re lucky, the school only sends them home once a week in an envelope. Go through the papers as the kids are doing homework. Read each, trash it or put it in a “to do” or “to file” pile. Mark significant dates on a Family Calendar and throw away the paper whenever possible. Keep your To Do pile on a desk or hall table so you look at it every day until it’s done.
13. Don’t save every piece of schoolwork your child brings home. Tests, yes. Seat work, no. Artwork can go in a drawer in their desk, or hung on a bulletin board or one piece at a time on the refrigerator.
14. When children receive long term projects, make a calendar with them so they can see when each piece of the project needs to be done. Coordinate it with the family calendar so they don’t plan to do it on days when they have activities.
15. Keep a list of Special classes in each child’s room so they know how to prepare. For example:
- Mon – gym (wear sneakers)
- Tues – library (pack books from last week)
- Wed – art (older clothes)
- Thurs – computers (bring in homework)
- Fri – music (need instrument)