As summer winds down, it’s also an exciting time of new beginnings for students and teachers. It’s back to school season! We’re actually in our third week of school here in Arizona and are getting in to the groove of a new year and routines.
I love the back to school season and use it as an opportunity to create new habits and systems. Here are five steps we can take to help the school year run smoothly for our families:
Stock Up: Of course you’ll be buying supplies to go to the classroom, but purchase a few extras of items the kids go through quickly, like pencils, glue sticks and crayons. Buying them on sale and having them handy will save you an extra trip to the store in the future. Don’t forget about items like poster board or tri-fold boards that kids usually need a few times a year for projects.
Use a Shared Family Calendar: Coordinating schedules for multiple people isn’t easy. Get the info out of your head and on to a calendar! Google Calendar or the Cozi app are popular digital tools that allow you to set reminders and notify family members when you add an event. You can also use a paper calendar and put it where everyone can see it. Use a different colored marker for each family member’s activities for easy reference.
Meal Plan: Weeknights can be extremely busy with homework and extra-curricular activities. Without a plan, it’s easy to get in the habit of picking up fast food. Eating out can also be pretty expensive. Creating a simple meal plan each week can help save money and the headache of figuring out what to make at 5:30 PM when everyone is hungry.
I recently wrote down a month’s worth of meals that most of my family enjoys. Then each Sunday evening I create a weekly plan based upon what we have going on that week. For those evenings where we won’t have a lot of time between an activity and when we normally eat, I plan to put a slow cooker meal on in the morning or plan something simple like sandwiches or a frittata.
Create a Laundry Schedule: Staying on top of the laundry can be a challenge. Last week I noticed my son wore the same pair of shorts two days in a row. I asked why and it was because he was out of clean clothes. So I’m going to create a laundry schedule to ahead of the game so my kids aren’t wearing dirty clothes to school, haha! Here’s a sample you can adapt to your family:
Tuesday: Towels (Kitchen and Bath)
Thursday: Child 1
Friday: Child 2
Have a Back-Up Plan: Last week I had a meeting and then planned to pick my kids up from school. But on the way, there was an accident on the freeway. Traffic was completely stopped for a while and there was no way I was going to make it to the school in time. Thankfully, I have a neighbor whose son goes to the same school and we help each other out with transportation when something comes up. Figure out your family’s back-up plan for when there’s traffic, a sick kiddo or bad weather.
Here’s to a great school year!