10 Back-to-School Organization Tips for Parents
With school starting back up over the course of the next few weeks, there are several things parents can do ahead of time to reduce the stress that is sure to bubble up as the family gets closer to the first day of school. Here are a few back-to-school organization tips that have worked for my family.
10 Back-to-School Organization Tips for Parents
1. Take a Picture of the School Supply List. If your child’s school gives you a list of school supplies you need to buy, as soon as you receive it, pull out your smart phone and take a picture. The next time you’re shopping, you’ll have the list with you so you can start buying the supplies at a time that is convenient for you rather than making a special trip.
2. Mark Down Critical Dates. Whether you use a Microsoft Outlook calendar, a paper calendar or an app, sync the school calendar with your personal calendar. The school year calendar is typically available on the website for your town’s schools. Enter all the school closings and half days on your calendar now that way you won’t miss a break in the routine (and can even plan ahead for care if needed). If you already know Parent Nights or Picture Day, put those in the calendar now too.
3. Replenish or Create a Homework Caddy. Gather supplies typically needed for homework and put them into a container that can easily be grabbed for homework. A typical homework caddy may include pencils, erasers, a pencil sharpener, markers, paper, scissors, glue, a ruler, hole punch, blank paper or any other supplies your child typically needs for homework. You could also set up a specific homework space in the house for your child.
4. Put Money in the Lunch Money Account. If your child buys lunch and pays for lunch through an electronic lunch account, put some money in it now. This will help you avoid the scramble the night before school starts when you can’t locate your username and password!
5. Clean Out Drawers/Closets. If it no longer fits or if your child never wore an article of clothing, pull it out of the dresser or closet and set aside to donate or sell. Doing this now will make it easier to put clothes, shoes and jackets away.
6. Make a List of Clothing Needs. After figuring out what still fits, write a list of what you need to buy and start shopping!! The closer we are to the first day of school, the more items that will be out of stock or back ordered. Take advantage of back-to-school sales now too and any sales tax breaks your state may offer.
7. Make & Freeze Meals. Now is the time to stock the freezer with a few easy to serve meals that you can grab during the craziness of back to school month. It’s probably not exactly the time of year you want to be creating heat in the kitchen, but what you do now will save you from unnecessary stress later. If you want to take it one step further, my friend suggested freezing sandwiches ahead of time. She says she’s successfully frozen everything from peanut butter and jelly to cold cut sandwiches. She use a special sandwich cutter that seals the edges before freezing and her kids have never complained.
8. Arrange for a Classmate Meet Up. You may have to do a little bit of digging but try to email the parents of classmates and arrange a meet-up with classmates at a local playground. The last few years, I’ve found it helpful to host the same gender children as my child for a pizza dinner. It’s given my husband and I a chance to meet the other parents and kids, many of whom will likely become friends with my child.
9. Finalize After-school Care. If you plan to use a sitter, hopefully you’ve already started interviewing or if you are lucky, you’ve already secured your sitter. Start thinking of any rules you may need to establish with your new employee (perhaps no social cell phone use while caring for your child). If you’re using an after-school program, make sure you’ve paid all necessary deposits, arranged transportation if applicable and know the process for the first day of after-school care. It’s also important to know the program policies on early release days, snow days, school closings.
10. Evaluate How Last Year Went and Make Changes If Needed. Think back to last year. Did anything not work so great? Maybe your carpool didn’t work out quite like you expected or maybe, like in our household, homework was a constant battle. What can you do differently this year to make things go smoother. Or what might you need to do differently because something has changed in the routine. Perhaps you are like me where this year marks the year my kids are both in public schools. And also on totally different bus schedules!
No doubt it’s hard to start thinking about the details now. Who wants the summer to end any sooner than necessary? However, any planning you do ahead of time will only make the transition smoother come the first day back at school.