Back to School


Ready or not – back to school season is upon us! In addition to those early morning alarms, your house will also soon welcome the paper piles, lunch prep and gym bags. It’s hard to keep up with it all, even if you’re blessed with a helpful child or teen (luck you!), and before you know it the holidays will be here. Yikes!

So how can you get the family organized? Here are some tips.

Create a homework or “launch pad” hub.

Let’s be honest. School time is messy time. It’s difficult to keep it all under wraps (and not give your children an excuse to not have their homework turned in!). Create a central location in your home where the family master calendar hangs, cubbies for lunch or milk money live, and workspaces for each child. This will help cut back on clutter and inevitable “Mom, I can’t find my…” battles in the morning.

Ease the family into the new schedule.

Don’t try to change bedtime routines in one night. It likely won’t work and will likely irritate your kids. During the last two weeks of summer, close in on earlier bedtimes 15 minutes at a time, and conduct pleasant wake-ups 15 minutes earlier each day. One of the most difficult things about doing this is that it often conflicts with meal times. It’s vital that children get an adequate dinner and breakfast, so move those meals around, and have snacks available during the day to help with the transition.

Gather your papers and plan those shopping trips.

Every child needs the basics: folders, tissues, pencils. But for the random needs, create a list and collect coupons. Stores like Target will have savings on certain items and you can double up by using store deals with manufacturer coupons. Asses which child needs what items of clothing and develop a wardrobe list (and be sure to discuss this list with said child to avoid in-store tantrums and morning disagreements). Get it all done in one day and then you won’t have to worry about it.

Also – speaking of paperwork, don’t forget about immunization records and proof of medical exams for your student athletes. Get those physicals done ahead of time and be ready for when the paperwork is needed.

Do a practice run.

The first day of school is not the time to find out how long it takes to walk to the bus stop, make lunches, and get everyone ready for the day. If your kids walk to school, help them find a safe route. If car-pooling, perhaps take a test drive during busy hours to ensure everyone gets to school on tie. And make sure your bus riders know their bus number and a few friends to follow to ensure the right kids make it to the right school.