Heading back to school can cause a lot of chaos and anxiety for both children and parents, so organization is the key when going to school.
You may have children starting school for the very first time, or going back to school at a higher grade level. Overall the same principles in the tips below should apply to all ages. The better organized you are, the better it will be for you and your children.
Purchasing School Supplies
Most schools provide a list of supplies needed to bring when the new school year begins, i.e., pens, pencils, folders (can be color-coded), labels, highlighters, etc.
Backpacks are essential for carrying books, papers and other supplies. According to the experts, contents of the backpack should be no more than 10-20% of the child’s weight.
If you live in the U.S., check the Sales Tax Holidays at http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales_holiday.html for individual states before shopping.
A calendar will be necessary to ensure everyone keeps up with the new schedule, with after-school and/or sports activities. If you can, use an online calendar that both you and children can update with important dates. This will be helpful when trying to juggle work and school commitments. It can be updated and either of you can access it from anywhere. At the very least, a wall calendar for everyone to see at a glance, and update as necessary.
Establish a Routine
• Start a few days before school and have your child(ren) go to bed and get up at the normal time to get ready for school.
• Plan your evenings so they will be able to go to bed at a time to get the required amount of sleep for each individual child. According to National Sleep Foundation, “Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development.” See http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep
- Set a regular time for bed each night and stick to it
- Avoid feeding children big meals close to bedtime
- Avoid giving anything with caffeine less than six hours before bedtime
- Make after-dinner playtime a relaxing time
- Establish a calming bedtime routine
• Plan for a healthy breakfast and healthy snacks for each day, so they will have the energy to handle the day’s activities.
• Plan for homework and exercise/play time.
• Every night before going to bed, have children get in the habit of picking out their clothes for the next day and packing their backpacks. This will ensure that you don’t have to iron something in the morning or a last minute search for that paper that needs to be signed and turned in.
• Get together periodically (daily or weekly) to talk about what projects are due, when they are due, and what supplies are needed so that you won’t have a last minute run to the store the night before a project is due.
• Once school starts, the calendar will quickly fill up with activities. Study will be a major component. Teach children to schedule their homework times so they don’t become overwhelmed, and don’t wait till the last minute to complete assignments.
Learn Productivity and Organizational Skills
Try this great resource of activities to help your child succeed in school and learn productivity and organizational skills, as well: http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/succeed/index.html
To keep all the school papers and instructions organized, create a filing system where you can keep all records in one place. Receipts for everything associated with school can be included, in addition to information such as school reports, excursions and any extra curricular activities. These files can be indexed in Paper Tiger Document Management Software and Filing System so when you need something, you can quickly conduct a search for the keyword relating to the item and find it quickly.
Organization is the key when going to school. Planning ahead and getting organized will reduce stress when it’s time to go back to school.