There are two types of parents. The first type is already anxiously counting the days (minutes) until school starts. The second type would just prefer to live in summer-mode year round. No matter which camp you’re in…ready or not, it’s almost August.
As far as getting organized, some people prefer taking things day by day, not overthinking, doing things willy-nilly. If this is your vibe, you may want to just skip down to the last point on our list. However, if the thought of not being ultra-prepared gives you a sense of panic, you should keep reading.
7 tips on getting organized for the upcoming school year:
Reel in the Summertime Sleep Schedule
We all appreciate the idyllic, laid-back feel of summer days. You might find yourself staying up later and sleeping in. This is all fine and dandy, luxurious, even…until you have to start setting your alarm again. In order to prepare for this eventuality, give yourself time to adjust.
Don’t wait until the night before school starts to convince your kids they’re tired when the sun is still out. Instead, reinstitute bedtimes and associated routines a few weeks early. If you’ve allowed your kids to stay up later during the summer months, start backing up bedtime by 15 minutes a night until you’re where you need to be.
Do the same for your wake up routine. There are few things more offensive than the sound of an alarm prior to 9am on a fine summer morning. However, equally as undesirable is the battle you would surely wage dragging your kids out of bed that first day, if you don’t prepare them. Let them reacquaint themselves with their old friend…the alarm clock. Just like at bedtime, start having them get up a bit earlier each day.
Get Your School Supplies
If you just love the experience of doing school supply shopping yourself, it should go without saying…don’t wait until the last minute. Shop in advance. You’ll have a wider selection and won’t be among the procrastinating masses. If your kiddo really wants some sparkly pencils, heart-shaped erasers and unicorn binders, buy the basics yourself and allow your child to pick out some fun accessories – anything to help them look forward to getting back into the classroom.
If you’d rather box a kangaroo than leave the house to shop, purchase your child’s school supplies online. Amazon offers a Back To School Supply Box for grades K-5 that contains 32 essentials. Target deserves an award for their School List Assist system. You get to choose a delivery method, locate your class list, then add everything to the cart all at once. Walmart.com even offers class lists BY TEACHER. Done and done. Why would you need to venture out?
Another favorite option – and it may be too late, but if so, just remember for next year – is to pay for the pre-packaged school supply packs most districts sell from May through mid-summer. You order online and the supplies are delivered to your child’s classroom – it doesn’t get any easier than that! Check with your school to see if this option is still available.
Other supplies to consider:
Required reading books
Tackle Back to School Shopping Early
First of all, it’s ok if your sweet baby doesn’t show up to class that first day looking like a model from an A&F Kids catalog. Even if they do, they’ll come home looking like they just walked through the eye of a tornado. And slow your roll…stores aren’t closing down the day school starts, so technically, a big shopping can wait. A nice, clean, photo-worthy outfit, and maybe shoes that fit, will suffice.
Remember, your child probably doesn’t need a whole new wardrobe. Prior to actually shopping, take inventory of what you already have, figure out what needs to be donated, and determine what items should be replaced. Create a list of what makes sense for your child’s age and what he/she requires for the current season. Taking your time to think through all these factors allows you to shop purposefully which ultimately saves money.
As with school supplies, don’t wait until the last minute to head to the mall. And if your preferred method is shopping online, allow plenty of time for shipping. Whichever your shopping preference, buying school clothes last minute will more than likely result in a picked-over selection, inability to find the right sizes, stress, and overall frustration.
Plan 4 Weeks of Lunches
If you don’t menu plan, this may sound over-the-toppish. But if your kids prefer a homemade lunch, planning several weeks at a time makes sense. It alleviates the scramble to throw something together daily. After the initial planning, there is not much thought involved.
Repeat the lunch schedule monthly or plan additional meals if you so desire. Switch out the lunches that were unpopular or hard to eat at school. Like, maybe chop sticks are considered a weapon and you’re no longer able to pack it with their sushi, etc. The point is, if you have a 4-week plan, the basic ground work is there. That way you won’t find yourself standing in front of an open refrigerator at 6am trying to piece together a lunch last minute.
Having a menu plan also keeps your kids in the loop. They won’t need to ask, “What’s for lunch?” You can just refer them to the meal calendar and they’ll know what to expect on any given day. Put those inquisitive kids to work – get them involved in the prep process and packing of lunches to save yourself even more time.
Go Grocery Shopping
Speaking of needing to feed your kids lunch, don’t wait until the day before school starts to go grocery shopping. If you do, you’ll more than likely be frustrated by long lines and low inventory. If you food shop in advance, you’ll have a little more time to think through snacks and school meals, instead of grabbing what is available off of picked over shelves, not getting what you want, spending too much money, ad nauseum.
Not always a popular idea, you might consider taking kids with you. Let them pick out some of their snacks and lunch items. If your jaw clenched when you read that or maybe your eye began to twitch, think past the possible chaos. Small things like fun snacks just might get their little minds actually looking forward to the first day of school!
Update the Family Calendar
This is assuming you have a family calendar – digital calendar or the old-school paper kind. If you don’t have a calendar, come out of the Dark Ages and get one. Immediately. Run. Do not walk.
Then hop online, look at the school (or schools’) calendar. Go ahead and list all important district dates – school holidays, teacher work days, early release, etc. – on your family calendar. This will give you an overview of the school year and help you when planning vacations or family events.
If your child or children are involved in extracurricular activities, add in practice and game days/times. See how this schedule meshes (or not) with family obligations and getaways. Filling in upcoming dates on a calendar lets you know what to expect and what days/weeks might be stacked or potentially stressful.
When you find yourself not being able to fit all your events inside the square of space allotted, take note…you just might be stretching yourself and your little ones a bit too thin. Reevaluate!
Plan an “End-of-Summer” Celebration
Just like (let’s be honest) the majority of parents, some kids are looking forward with bated breath to get back to school, their friends, and a more predictable routine. Others face the first day with zero enthusiasm and even outright hostility.
For those who may need a little push, build some anticipation and excitement for this new chapter. Close out the summer with a family party. Or a neighborhood party. Big or small, fancy or casual – whatever floats your boat! This could mean a night out at a favorite restaurant, a special outing, one last fun activity, a backyard cookout, family game night.
The list of possibilities could actually be another blog post. Just do SOMETHING to make a memory for your family that celebrates the summer season past and looks forward with excitement to the school year upcoming.
Most importantly…take a mental picture. As crazy as summer is and as tedious as refocusing their attention on learning will surely seem, you won’t get this moment in time back. Summer of 2021 only comes once in a lifetime so treat your last shebang as the precious event it really is.
Need A Professional Organizer?
You don’t want to tumble haphazardly into this new school year. You want to sashay in like a Boss. But maybe reading our suggestions on how to get organized made your eyes glaze over. Or maybe your household includes busy working parents with no spare time to check the items off this 7-step list. No worries – we can help.
Our Lifestyle Experts are trained to first lay the foundation for order in your home. Then we create routines that translate into more productive living for the whole family. Let us get you there. A brand new school year is the perfect time to start!