Can you believe it’s time to send your children back to school once again? Now, now, don’t get that excited, they might notice. Parenting experts suggest that at this time of year the most important thing to do for your children is to get them back on a regular schedule a few days before school starts. Get your children up in the morning so they can begin to go to bed earlier. Creating an activity that they will look forward to in the morning might be a reward for getting up early.
I know that the biggest challenge can be getting everyone out the door in the morning on time. Pre-planning is absolutely key.
- Prepare and pack lunch the night before – buy a sectioned lunch container (from Glad or Tupperware) that holds the lunch, juice, snacks, etc.
- Think about what you’ll have for breakfast the next morning and be certain to have a regular weekly grocery schedule to ensure you always have enough on hand
- Make sure your children are showered and bathed the night before
- Choose clothing for the next day – those nifty days of the week organizers that hang in the closet give you a place to put the clothes and shoes for each day of the week
- Pack the backpack with homework, signed notes and material to go back to school the night before
Here are some suggestions for an after-school routine. These steps are essential to help keep your home and family organized.
- Empty school bags, put gear away and put paperwork and school notices in each child’s file – school-age children can do this themselves
- Have each child clean out their lunch box and place it in the sink
- Have a snack to improve concentration
- Homework time for one hour – even if your child doesn’t have one hour of homework early in the school year, get them into the habit by designating this as reading time
- Free time until dinner – play is the reward for the other three steps
Helpful Organizational Systems
Consider setting up a family management binder system. One of the most important sections is the Schedule section where all activities and commitments are on paper in a time block system or in an online tool such as Google Calendar with at least Monday to Friday or Monday to Sunday depending on weekend commitments. Be sure to plan leisure time as well as homework and other activity time every day. Make notes of deadlines, birthdays, parent/teacher days, PD days, and other school activities in advance.
A couple of other key organizational systems you’ll want to be aware of are to designate a homework area for each child where they keep things that may not be going back to school the next day. A nice sturdy washable basket or bin with their name on it works well. And, have a laundry schedule. Put a load in before the kids get up and get it in the dryer before you leave for work. In the afternoon when you get home be sure to fold the load and put it away. This enables the entire family to always have a choice of clean outfits.
Whew, I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted just thinking about all the planning that needs to be done in the next few weeks. I guarantee that you’ll be glad you did it when Fall hits and your household runs like a well-oiled machine, or something to that effect.