By Vickie Ferguson
You’ve probably already started seeing the back-to-school advertisements. You may even be preparing for meet-the-teacher night. Whether you like it or not, the relaxed summer days of staying up late and sleeping in each morning are coming to a close. School is about to start again.
The onset of a new school year signals the onset of a new routine — you know, readjusting schedules to ensure the kiddos are out of bed, dressed, fed and out the door before the first bell rings. Like most situations, organization goes a long way in keeping things moving forward in an efficient manner. Here are some tips to school-proof your home and beat the back-to-school blues.
Create a Family-School Events Calendar
One of the best visual organizational aids to school-proof your home is a family-school events calendar. Think of it as a giant sticky note. Create one master calendar that has all family and student events for the week or month (whichever is easier) placed in a strategic central location in the home. Add sub-calendars, so children can list individual events like sports activities, after school classes, upcoming tests and project due dates. Any chores the child is responsible for can also be listed on the calendar. This visual notebook works as a reminder — or in some cases, educates them — about the benefits of being organized. With the calendars maintained and updated, it lessens the likelihood of forgetting important dates.
Form a Family Meeting Space
Having a centralized location for family meetings is a great way to keep everyone up-to-date and involved in each other’s lives. Choose a place in the home that’s comfortable, convenient and free from distractions. Doing so will allow you to easily review the calendar, update it with new events and activities, discuss upcoming outings or talk about school projects.
Design a Work Station
Create a work area in your home where children can do their homework in a quiet place. If their bedroom is also the study room, create a nook within the room that’s study-oriented and free from outside distractions. Separating the study area from the bedroom and its amenities, such as a TV, gaming station or music, lets the kids know that when they are in the nook, they are there to study.
Prepare Lunch the Night Before
Prepare the next day’s lunch items in the evening with variety of food items that (if possible) don’t require refrigeration or a lot of prep work. Line up the lunch bags the night before, so all you need to do in the morning is fill each one with pre-prepped goodies.
Set the Table for Breakfast … at Night
To keep the morning’s hectic schedule workable and less stressful, lay out the breakfast table after the evening meal. Keep a wide variety of nutritional but quick foodstuffs available for the morning meal. Fresh juice and assorted fruit along with yogurt, instant oatmeal, cereal, breakfast sandwiches, toaster-style pancakes and waffles are always good choices.
Organize Your Children’s Closets
Arrange each child’s closet in an organized fashion with outfits pre-matched for the week, allowing your child to choose an outfit in the mornings that’s already put together. Lay out shoes, socks, undergarments and any other items the night before. Include backpacks in the nightly routine of being packed and ready to go in the morning.
With a little planning ahead, communication and organization, your school-proof home will keep everyone on time, all the time.
Vickie Ferguson has been a freelance writer since 1998 and covers a wide range of topics, such as gardening, home improvement and home décor.