It’s back to school time. Are you ready or are you dreading the start of a new school year? If your last year was filled with stress and disorganization, then take a deep breathe. We have three home projects you can quickly do while you wait for the supply lists to come from the school. With a system for handling papers, a launch pad area and a family calendar in place you will start the year off on the right track.
1. Set up a system for handling the incoming and outgoing papers. Using a simple in/out box system for each family member helps reduce the hunt for that permission slip or the emergency contact form that needs to be sent back. Help children empty their backpacks daily and put papers that need to be signed or seen by a parent in the parent’s box. Once signed it is returned to the child’s box or put back in the backpack. If possible, set this up near the door that is used most often. Office type in/out boxes come in plastic, metal, bamboo, and fabric covered cardboard. Pick something that makes you feel good. If you’re short on flat counter space use the wall and hang a literature rack, or Pendaflex has a hanging file with 4 poly pockets.
2. The launch pad or landing pad area is probably already established. It is the place where things get “plopped” on their way in the door and also when they are waiting to go out the door. Why not make it more efficient and create places for those things you use daily? Have coat hooks for children (at their height) and a place for their backpacks, shoes, musical instruments, library books and/or sports equipment bag. A key rack and place for your cell phone, pocketbook and/or briefcase will save you time and energy too. With everything in one place, and set out the night before, there is less chance of forgetting things and you and your children will start the day off feeling confident.
3. Central calendar
Having one main calendar for the entire family to use to post appointments, practices, and special events helps avoid overbooking and/or missed appointments. Let each family member use a different color marker on the calendar and be sure that all family members are included. If you use a planner or pda be sure to input the new information so that you are up to date. Pick one day a week to review and plan the upcoming week. Sundays work well for many busy families.
With these three systems in place you will save time and energy. Check back for backpack and study area tips. What is your biggest challenge or best tip for the school year? Please let me know.