5 Back-To-School Organizing Tips Savvy Parents Swear By
It doesn’t matter how many years into the “parent game” you are - back-to-school preparation is no joke. Clothes. Supplies. Doctor’s appointments. Forms. Carpool. Child care. Oh, did we also mention the major shift in schedule and routine? There’s a reason our team refers to the start of the school year as “Mom’s New Year”…
Deep breath. We’re in this together. Here are our best tips for making the summer-to-fall transition go more smoothly:
1. “Fall” into a routine before the first day of school. Kids, especially little ones, struggle with transition. A few weeks before the first day, ease back into a more structured routine with set wake times, meal times, and bedtimes. Reducing TV and technology time is also helpful.
2. Shop your house first. How many times have you purchased a fresh box of crayons only to find a perfectly unopened box later? You can make this task more fun by turning it into a scavenger hunt game for the kids. This goes for shoes and clothes as well, especially if you have hand-me-downs.
3. Plan by task, not by child. Plan on one shopping trip (or online shopping session) for clothes and shoes, one for supplies, and one day for doctor’s appointments. Block the time in your schedule. Schools require A LOT of paperwork. If you’ve got multiple kids, you’re basically writing a novel. Again, block the time in your schedule for this task. If you have to write the pediatrician’s information four times, you might as well do it in one sitting. Once the paperwork is complete, I like to scan it all (if you don’t have a scanner, Evernote is fantastic) just in case.
4. Hold a family meeting. What worked well last school year? What didn’t? Brainstorm how you can work together to keep the ship afloat. Make decisions about daily tasks and responsibilities. Create a calendar and write down fun activities and events to look forward to. The more “skin in the game” the kids have, the more likely they’ll get on board.
5. Adopt a “less is more” mindset. You are going to get hit with ALL the requests - activities, lessons, committees, fundraisers, etc. Resist the temptation to overschedule. Children, regardless of age, need downtime. Who else does downtime benefit? You. Having one “do nothing” day (i.e., no activities or commitments) a week does wonders for everyone’s sanity and gives you the space and time to enjoy your loved ones without the stress of scheduling, the hassle of carpooling across town, or the pressure to perform.