As we get ready to say goodbye to the lazy days of summer, it’s time to turn our attention to the new school year.
Whether you’re a student yourself or a parent responsible for one, make the often harsh transition a lot easier with these tips for starting the school year off on the right foot.
Create Calendar Central
Each school year floats on a sea of schedules. School functions. Lunch menus. Scout meetings and music lessons. What do you do when you’re drowning in paper?
Nothing calms school year chaos like Calendar Central: a centralized site for all family calendars and schedules. You’ll need a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs and volunteer work. Add specialized calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.
Form is less important than function. A paper calendar with large squares lets you enter information easily. Pre-printed white board calendars are easy to revise when necessary. Color-coding entries by family member helps keep busy lives straight.
Paper planner fans dedicate a planner section to serve as Calendar Central, while tech-savvy cybergrrrlz store the info in a smart phone or tablet and sync with multiple computers. Choose a calendar format that works for your family.
Post the family event calendar in a public place near the telephone. Use magnets to attach the calendar to the refrigerator, or tack it to a bulletin board.
Add other calendars to Calendar Central: school lunch menus, class assignment sheets, sports practice schedules. When the room mother calls for field trip volunteers, you’ll know at a glance whether you’re free to join the group on the bus that day.
Plan before you shop
August is the second-biggest sales month for clothing retailers. Back to school clothing sales begin as early as July! Are you prepared to run the school clothes gauntlet?
Take an afternoon and assess each child’s clothing needs.
Empty drawers and closets of outgrown or worn-out clothing, and either store or donate the discards.
Working with your child, clean and organize clothing storage before new garments are added–and cut down on school morning calls of “Mom! I don’t have any clean . . . . “
Develop a wardrobe needs list for each child. Check for possible hand-me-downs from older siblings as you make your list. If you discuss the needs list and the family budget with your children before you shop, you’ll avoid in-the-store tantrums.
Similarly, ask the school for classroom supply lists before shopping for school supplies. Forewarned is forearmed … and helps protect the family budget.
Do shop early! With back-to-school sales beginning in mid-July, tardy shoppers have a tough time locating needed supplies among September’s Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations.
Gather your papers
School entry may require documentation from immunization records to report cards from the previous school year. Athletes need proof of medical examination. A little preparation can prevent frantic last-minute searches for a birth certificate or registration confirmation.
Call your child’s school or check the school district Web site beforehand to find out what paperwork will be required–then find it! You won’t be sorry come registration day.
How to help your child battle with back to school worries:
Happy New School Year!