As you get the kids ready to go back to school, here are 6 organizing tasks you can do now.
Yes, I know it’s the middle of summer vacation. Who wants to think about back to school right now while the beach beckons?
For most of us, school starts the week before Labor Day which is only about 6 weeks away. If we want to kick of the school year with a bang, now IS the time to organize yourself for back to school.
The good news? Do these 6 surefire organizing tasks and you will start the school year with a pat on your back and a smile on your face for being such an organized mom!
Every family needs a central calendar for staying organized. The best calendar is the one you stick with. For my family, we have a desk calendar hanging on the wall in the kitchen. Everything goes on this calendar written in pencil. I also put my kids dishwashing and table setting schedule on the calendar.
Once a week, I review the calendar and make sure the information syncs with my Google calendar and my Erin Condren Life Planner. I carry the Life Planner with me to doctor’s appointments. After struggling with a small screen when making appointments in Google calendar, I went back to a paper planner for sanity’s sake.
When do you think about dinner? For too many moms, the decision is made at dinnertime increasing their stress levels exponentially. Take back dinner with a simple menu plan. All you need is a meat or non-meat protein, a starch, and a veggie for each dinner. Write a note on your daily list to defrost the meat you need the night before. Voila! You’ve organized dinner!
My meal planning is fairly simple. I love to cook, though I don’t love to spend a lot of time planning. This is my basic routine:
- Look at the calendar for the following week. Wednesday night is always Venturing night for my oldest son, and always spaghetti and meatballs. If there’s something earlier than 6 on the calendar, I serve leftovers that night otherwise, I plan on starting dinner early.
- Look at the fridge for leftovers from the current week and vegetables that need using up. I check the meat drawers in the freezer in case my husband has used something over the weekend that I thought was still there.
- Sit down with my husband to talk about meal ideas. He loves to cook, and he likes to be included in the meal planning process.
- Using my 3 x 7 weekly menu plan, I write out the plan in pencil and include notes for food prep, recipe locations, and taking food out of the freezer. I always schedule at least one leftover night during the week. If the fridge remains crowded with food, I will change the plan during the week and have an additional leftover night. Usually, I just need to cook a meat for the new leftover night.
Start your meal planning right now with this colorful menu plan from Christina which includes a handy grocery list. Keep a running list of items you need to buy, and take the list with you at the end of the week.
Emergency Sick Plan for the Kids
Kids get sick at the most inconvenient times. Sometimes kids get sick a lot during the school year. Whatever your family’s work situation, make a plan now with your husband to handle the kids’ sick days. Make an agreement that the plan is subject to negotiation if something comes up at the last minute.
Pull together a list of 1 or more people who can help you in case you or your husband can’t get to the school to pick up your child. Ask your possible people if they can be an emergency contact and the number they want you to use on school forms. You’ll be all set when those forms come home the first day of school.
Summer is a good time to schedule well checks for your kids. Instead of trying to squeeze one in after school between homework time and sports, you can schedule the well check any time during the day. Don’t forget to bring forms with you for the doctor to fill out. Most doctor’s offices charge a fee for forms dropped off outside of well checks.
Ask for an updated copy of your children’s shot records when you’re at the doctor. You may need to know when your kids last had their tetanus shot for school forms and extracurricular activities.
Make homework easier this school year with a well-equipped homework station. Focus on homework, not on finding pencils and paper. I store our homework supplies in a cleaning caddy kept on a bookcase in the dining room.Next to the homework supply caddy are bins for papers from school labeled with each child’s name.
In my office, I kept the stapler, ruler, and electric pencil sharpener. These supplies have been known to disappear in our home.
Homework Station Supplies
- Caddy or box to hold the supplies
- Pencil Sharpener
- hole punch
- glue sticks
- school glue
Create a Morning and After School Routine
Getting kids out the door to school can be the most stressful time in a mom’s day. Coming home from school is almost as stressful. Conquer the stress with a routine.
It’s pretty easy deciding what your kids need to get done in the morning before they go to school. Almost every parent expects their kids to be dressed, have their teeth brushed, and have their lunches made before going to school.
Beyond the basics, when do you sign forms and permission slips? When do kids decide on bringing or buying lunch?
After school, think about what you want your kids to do the minute they walk in the door. I have mine put their lunch boxes on the counter and put their papers for me to review in their bins along with their homework books. While the kids eat a snack, I review the homework books and papers. Then, we start homework.
Two Free Printables for your Back to School Routines
Two years ago, I created 2 printables for my kids to help them get out the door in the morning and settle into our afternoon routine after school. Before I created these printables, we were constantly rushing around for stuff at the last minute in the morning. With the expectations clear and the routine stuff done, I am better able to handle any last minute issues. Having an afternoon routine has helped homework time run more smoothly, too.
When do you start getting ready for back to school?