HOW TO TRANSITION FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL
by Erin Love
Goodbye summer! A new school year is here, and that means hectic schedules, alarm clocks, and piles of paper. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up, but with a little organization, you can create order out of the chaos and transition from summer fun to schoolwork with minimum complications.
Transitioning takes time! Don’t let the beginning of school create a problem in your household. Ease your children into new routines gradually. For instance, after a summer of sleeping in, it will be hard to jump out of bed and hit the ground running. Take that into account and give yourself a bit more time than usual.
Organize tomorrow today!
This is one of my favorite rules, and it is the reason I stay organized. Do whatever you possibly can the evening before, and it will save so much stress later. For instance, pack book bags and choose outfits. Lay everything out in an organized fashion so it is easy to get dressed. I lay my kids clothes on their beds and then place backpacks where they grab snacks and drinks. What else can you do ahead of time instead of last minute? If possible, make a list of all that needs to be done before leaving for school and post it where everyone can see it. This doesn’t have to be a job just for you! Get everyone involved in pre-planning and they will be learning a valuable lesson. In addition, you might not have to turn the car around to pick up homework forgotten on the kitchen table or leave work to run your child’s lunch box to school.
Plan before you shop
The beginning of school is always the busiest time for stores, so it’s a good idea to shop early and be ready with a list of items that you may need. Before going, make sure clothes still fit. Sometimes kids take a growing spurt over the summer. We seem to go through shoes quickly at our house, so I always know to double check shoe size. *Note: This is the perfect time to reorganize your kids closets and drawers! Not only will it help with the transition, it will also free up space for what you purchase.
Create a drop zone
This could be in a mudroom, laundry room, or simply inside the door you use most often. I suggest hanging a coat hook for the backpack and placing a roomy basket underneath for papers and other paraphernalia. Stopping paper clutter at the door is a must for any organizing junkie!
Make a plan for those piles of paper
It is inevitable that paper will accumulate even after the very first day of school. I suggest that you devise a plan for what you will do with it. For instance, create a folder for “important papers” and keep it in a handy place in your homework station or drop zone. I also love the idea of scanning coloring pages, A+ grades, and other keepsakes and then tossing the original. Another idea is to create a display area for special papers and rotate them as needed.
Create a homework station
Make doing homework more fun by creating the perfect space for your child. Let him help by decorating it and then storing it with papers, pencils, crayons, and other school work necessities. It should be in a quiet space in the home and away from any toys or items that may be distracting. Homework time is a touchy subject in my house, so doing it first before anything else is what works for us. Find what works for you and your child and stick with it.
Invest in a large calendar
If you haven’t already, I suggest purchasing a large calendar that you can put in a central location for all to use. When you begin receiving special dates from the school and/or sporting teams, put them in the calendar immediately. If you wait, you may forget and that could spell disaster in the form of stress.
Create a nightly routine
Make a bedtime routine that everyone can enjoy. Draw a bubble bath and add some glow sticks. Add a bit of lavender scented candles or aromatherapy oils to soothe your children and remind them that it is time to wind down and begin preparing for the next day. Try to get in bed at the same time every night, too.
Remember, you can never be too prepared! Organize tomorrow today. Happy new school year!