Since I have a little extra time between now and when the school year chaos begins, I’d like to get a little bit of planning done in the remaining weeks as I can. How can I be organized to get more than shopping for clothes and school supplies out of this Back to School season?
Back to School Season is the second most “organizationally focused” time year – second only to the New Year. Why? Because the start of the school year doesn’t just represent a fresh start for your children; it also means a return to normalcy for harried moms and dads. Many of you have probably given up your regular routines for the last three months to adapt to the more free form summer schedules of your children. Now it is time to get everyone (including you) back on a schedule. It also represents an excellent time for you to schedule some much needed time for yourself. So as the air turns crisp, the kids head back to school, and the pace of life picks back up once again – use this period of transition to make a fresh start. Here are a few basic thoughts to get you started:
1. Get Organized to Save on School Supplies! The office super stores, and big box retailers like Walmart and Target are looking to lure shoppers into their store with unbelievably priced back to school items. Last week, we found boxes of 24 crayons for 10 cents, notebooks for a nickel, and packs of pencils and pens for a penny. This is the time to stock up on school supplies like tape, paper, pens, markers, notebooks etc. Buy enough of the basics for the entire year, as those are cheaper now than at any other time of the year. And why not enlist the help of your kids to help you save big. Put together a contest to see which child can help you save the most on school supplies (have them comb through the circulars and look online for deals). The winner gets out of chores for two weeks.
2. Restart good calendar habits: With fall, routines get, well…more routine. So now’s the time to set up a family communication station complete with a “Family appointment book.” We suggest an 8 by 11 planner with plenty of space to write everything from football games to company meetings, to dinner plans. The entire family should know all work, school and social engagements so no one gets double booked or overwhelmed. Book time with your spouse or significant other – whether it’s five minutes once a week or a minute every day – to input all of the family calendar updates into your outlook. That way you both know who needs to be when, where. Another calendar-driven thing to get ahead of: the carpool schedules. With the various activities your kids will be involved in this fall, the sooner you organize who is picking them up when and where, the better.
3. Utilize chore delegation: You should not be doing all of the chores around the house on your own! If you don’t have one already, put together (or buy) a chore chart that will help you assign and monitor each child’s chore progress. Ask nicely for help, but set up the expectations and rules before the busy days of school start. If you want to walk into it slowly, start with the 2 minute commercial break. Have your kids take out the trash or put the silverware away during the commercial breaks of their favorite after school television show. Most of the chores you give them don’t take more that 10 or 15 minutes anyhow, but they won’t feel like they are missing out on anything if they do them during commercials.
4. Get your family’s medical information organized: Fall is also the time to organize your family’s health details too. Make all doctor appointments: physicals, check-ups, dentist visits, etc. You’ve already paid your deductible so you need to take advantage of these before the year end. Also, take care of any nagging injuries or reoccurring health problems that you or your spouse have been putting off. You wouldn’t let your child go six months before seeing the doctor about an oddity in their health, so why are you putting off your own good health? And finally get your skin checked! Skin Cancer is on the rise so get to the dermatologist- And be sure to keep wearing at least an SPF 15 during the winter months on any exposed skin.