Well, it’s that time of year again! Parents are high-fiving and kids are dragging. Time to go back to school! However, it may not be a high-five mentality for you if you are more overwhelmed than excited by everything that needs to be done! No worries – I am here to help! Take a few moments to read through these five tips on Back to School Organization!
New school clothes rank at various levels of difficulty. If your kids have uniforms, then, folks, you’ve got it MADE in the shade! Spend some of your time assisting a less-fortunate parent, ha! If you have small children, it’s not too much more difficult, either. Why not get a sitter, take a day for yourself, go do all their school clothes shopping and bring it home to them. They’re not old enough yet to want to coordinate all of their own outfits, so you just end up being super mom! (Or super dad. Hi to any dads reading this!) But if you have older kids…there’s not much to do but suck it up and get it done. Choose a day and prepare yourself. Bribe yourself, even. (Heck, you may have to bribe the whole family.) Make sure you are not rushed, and make sure the kids understand the task at hand. And then…just git ‘er done! Once you’ve obtained everything, if you’re not working with uniforms, choose outfits on the weekend for the entire week ahead. Then there are no “late” issues due to “wardrobe” issues. Each child simply puts on the clothes laid out for the current day!
I noticed something this year. Lots of the schools were not giving out classroom supply lists until the very. last. minute. I have no idea why that was, but it’s a little frustrating for parents, to be sure! So, instead of delving into the mad rush that I encountered, when all I wanted to do was pick up a project from the Staples copy center (I mean, I had never seen so many fits being pitched at the same time), why not make it fun? Do you have a 24-hour Walmart near you? Why not set your alarm one night for about 1:00 a.m. Get up, get the kids up, and go take a “special school supply” trip to Walmart! (I’m so NOT joking.) Make it fun! Go in your pajamas! The store will be dead, the kids will think it’s hilarious to be in pajamas and doing this in the middle of the night, and you’ll get all the supplies you need! When you get home, go back to bed! (They’ll probably even let you sleep in later after that, too!)
Once you know what the school schedule is going to be like, do a few dry runs. Can everyone get up, be fed, clean and dressed by the time you would need to walk out the door? Run through it a couple of times so you can get all the kinks worked out. And leave yourself EXTRA TIME. Why? Because you don’t know what kind of traffic or other hindrance you might encounter on the first day of school! Because, of course, it’s everyone else’s first day of school, too! And if the kids have a heads up as to what needs to happen every morning, you’ll reap some benefits there! Also, do whatever you can the night before, and get the kids involved in this, too. Responsibilities are also great learning experiences!
Breakfast: it’s the most important meal of the day, seriously! You are fueling your kid’s minds for learning! But you don’t want to wear yourself out, either. So my advice is, do something that can be prepped the night before. Something like a breakfast burrito that you can pop in the microwave, and a bowl of fruit they can choose from. When it comes to lunches, each child has their own preference; I’m sure you’ve got that wrapped up already. However, the after-school-snack is pretty important, too! Keep after-school snacks in a particular area, inform the kids that “this is ONLY for after-school snacking”. If one day you end up with something different for them to snack on, that’ll be a surprise for them, but until then, they can come home, and they know exactly where to head for a snack.
Set up an area to corral all of the school “stuff”. When the kids come home, make sure they don’t drop their backpacks and lunch boxes everywhere and create a mess. Backpacks are hung on their hooks. Lunch boxes are left on the kitchen counter next to the sink. Homework is brought to the kitchen/dining room table and completed IMMEDIATELY, while under supervision. You can hear all the stories from the day, plus see any papers that need to be signed, and any projects or homework assignments that need to be completed. You’re totally in the know. When homework is done, it’s placed in the book bag and put back on the hook, ready for the next day. Lunch boxes are cleaned out and prepped for the next day along with the dinner prep and cleanup.
Obviously, each home has their own schedule. You may have extracurricular activities to schedule in. You may have one child, or you may have 10! There may be lots of other things that come into consideration! The five steps above simply give you something to work with!
You may read all this and say, “Wait a sec, Kristen, this is all really easy for you to say! YOU don’t have any kids!” And you would be right. But you might not know that I spent five years working my way through college as a nanny for triplet boys. Plus their baby brother. My day started before they came downstairs for breakfast and ended after they sat down for dinner…and sometimes later! You could call me a single mom juggling four boys! Trust me – organization is KEY in these Back-to-School times, and for the entire school year!
So take into account what I’ve written. Organize yourself in a way that works for YOUR family, but for goodness sake, organize! You can do it! You can pass this test!