A new school year is equal parts exciting and scary: Your child wonders what their teachers will be like, whether will they share classes with any friends, and what will the homework load be like. You’re wondering the same things plus a lot more: How can the family get organized, stay informed and have a great school year? It’s all doable. To get started, check out six back-to-school hacks below that are designed to make life easier for your whole family:
1 Make a family calendar/schedule
An efficient way for kids and parents to stay organized and keep track of after-school activities is by creating a family calendar/schedule and posting it in a well-traveled place like the kitchen. A whiteboard and dry-erase markers are a low-tech way to keep track of everyone’s plans. Be sure to update it regularly, especially when plans change. Encourage your kids to use the board every day so they can stay on top of what’s going on with their own activities and the rest of the family’s.
2 Designate a spot for school correspondence
Whether it’s a PTA flyer about an upcoming bake sale or a permission slip for a class trip that needs to be handed in by Wednesday, having a special folder for school correspondence is vital to staying organized. Place or hang the folder in a popular spot (again, the kitchen may work best) where kids will put important papers from school that need parents’ attention.
3 Have a week’s worth of school clothes ready by Sunday night
This way you won’t have to scramble on school mornings to find the kids something to wear that’s clean. Putting outfits (a top and bottom) together in a closet or drawer will save even more time during those hectic A.M. hours when everyone is trying to head out the door.
4 Reuse backpacks and lunch boxes
Check for wear-and-tear on these items from the previous school year—you may be able to save a bundle if you don’t have to buy them again. Also check for still-good art supplies, notebooks, folders, glue sticks, pens, and pencils.
5 Make preparing lunches a cinch
If your kids are old enough to make their own lunches, make it a pleasurable chore. Designate a section of the refrigerator and pantry for school lunches and keep these places well stocked with your child’s favorite foods. There’s another benefit too: They have to make choices, which teaches them how to be independent.
6 Help them match shoes and feet
For the little ones: Find a sticker with an image that can be cut in half—a horse, birthday cake, princess face, almost anything. Put the left side of the sticker inside their left shoe and the right side inside the right shoe. Tell your child it’s like a puzzle that they have to put together!