Published: Aug 24, 2008 09:36 AM
Modified: Aug 24, 2008 09:36 AM
Now that the start of the school year is at hand, I like to help my clients by giving them a list of things to do to help everyone get off to a good start.
Here are some quick and easy things to think about before you send your pride and joy out the door:
- Clean out your child's closet. Anything that doesn't fit or that hasn't been worn in a year should be tossed. This will help save precious time in the morning. Planning what to wear the evening before is a great habit to start as young as kindergarten.
- Make sure you have all-weather clothing available. A good rain coat, boots and a weather-proof backpack will come in handy that very first wet day when the kids are waiting outside for a bus that is running late.
- Check to see what school supplies you already have in the house before running out to buy all new items. Then buy what you will need for only the next three months. As a former teacher I recall my students had the urge to use all the pencils their parents bought those first few weeks of school. (If your child's teacher or school has a supply list, check it prior to purchasing supplies.)
- Discuss lunch options with your kids. See what you have, make a list and then buy what you will need for the next few weeks.
- Create a homework station in the house. Make this an area free from distractions and within easy reach of all the supplies your child will need. Also make sure the spot is in a part of the house where your child can easily find you when questions arise.
- Make homework an every-night event. Even if there is no homework to be done, have the kids read an extra chapter, start a project early or even review a subject in which your child might have some difficulty.
- Create an in-box/out-box system for important documents that need a guardian's signature. Kids can leave the papers in the in-box when they arrive home and can pick them up from the out-box on their way out the door the next morning.
- Start a habit of preparing your child's backpack with all necessary supplies, homework and signed documents the night before a school day. This will save precious time in the morning and will help relieve stress.
- Buy planners and calendars for everyone in the family. There should be a central calendar for the family in a high-traffic area of the house so that it's easily visible. Each family member should have some system of keeping their own activities in order as well (this is a great place to keep all homework and project assignments and extracurricular activities).
- Make time to make time: Set one day a week to have a family meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page with commitments, projects and important issues that need to be resolved. This will streamline your life and free you up to make sure everyone gets to their appointments and that dinner is always on the table in a timely manner.
- Good habits are made, not born. The first day of school is a fresh start for all -- kids, teachers and parents alike. This is the time to start new good habits and make a pact to keep them going for one solid quarter. After the first quarter ends set up a meeting with the family to see what worked, what didn't, and where efficiency can be improved.
With these tips and tricks, you'll soon be tidy, every day!
Lori Bruhns is a professional organizer in Hillsborough and founder of Everyday Tidy.