Each year there is a lot of focus on getting ready to go back to school… preparations, pre-work. Certainly there are many things that need to get done before you start, such as buying new clothes and shoes and filling out forms. But in my opinion, the first week or two of school actually being in session is where the real stress happens. Here are some tips to help you adjust!
- Get organized with supply purchases. Even if you were given a supplies list in advance, there are usually other requests that get sent home with the kids on the first few days. My advice is to wait if you can just a day or so, to make sure nothing else is coming, then consolidate your list and go buy the items. Try to go at a low-traffic time of day, like really early in the morning or mid-afternoon, if possible. Don’t go right after school/work when everyone else does!
- Organize the incoming papers. You’re going to get a LOT of papers coming home the first week or so, many of them excellent references for later. I recommend having a Family Binder where you store these for quick access when you need them. Just punch holes in the papers and you’re all set. As examples, here are some papers that are good to keep in the binder:
- Syllabus information about each class and the policies and expectations (make a copy of it for the binder even if the child needs to keep the original with other class materials)
- Contact information for the teachers– phone, e-mail, conference periods
- Bell schedule for each period (so you will know where your child is at any time of day, handy when you are scheduling dental appointments and the like)
- Bus route information
- School nurse info and policies for reporting illnesses to the office
- Login and password information for school websites and directories
- Make sure your child’s homework routines and systems are working. After the first week or two, both you and your child will have a good idea about how much time is going to be required for homework, and you’ll be able to sit down with him or her and assure that systems are in place to organize their papers and books in their backpacks. Let your child know what the expectations are for getting homework done– when and where to do it and what activities need to wait until it’s finished.
- Make sure laundry systems are working. As children get older, you can give them more responsibilities for their laundry. Maybe they are able to do some loads on their own, maybe they can put away their folded clothing, and maybe they just need to focus on getting it into the hamper when dirty. When you change these expectations, check in and make sure it’s working and their responsibilities are reinforced. You may have a new “wrinkle” in our routine, like having to make sure gym uniforms get washed and returned to school… put some reminders in place to make sure that happens.
- Adjust for lunch preferences. If someone decides the new cafeteria food is yucky, have them make their own sack lunches (or at least participate in making them). You may need to make a trek to the grocery store to find good lunch-making supplies, like smaller containers of favorite foods (warehouse stores like Costco are great for this). Getting organized with this process is really crucial to making mornings go smoothly, and packing the lunch the night before is very helpful. Make sure you have lots of extra ice packs, paper sacks, plastic bags, or whatever supplies you like to use– and create a rotation menu of 5-10 good solid lunch ideas to keep you from having to make the decision every day of what to pack.
For more organizational tips, check out Lorie Marrero’s blog: http://bit.ly/mV4lpq
Source: Lorie Marrero, Professional Organizer and spokesperson of the Donate Movement