Getting Prepped for Back to School
It seems unreal that it is already time for school to begin but yet it is indeed that time. Planning ahead will make the transition from school break to back-to-school less stressful.
School generates a lot of paper even though more and more of it is on line. Make a plan for it now. You will likely receive:
General school information such as calendar of events, school hours, rules, fees, team sports available, contact information, PTA news
Welcome letter from your child’s teacher with her information
List of needed school supplies
As the year progresses, student work and art will also pour in
I have seen people do very well with having a notebook for each child holding their school information and schedules as well as report cards. Others have scanned forms and reports and stored them on their phone or computer. A bin is helpful to store papers and art work.
Always keep graded school work until the end of each grading period. If there is a question about a grade, you have something to carry into the conference. At the end of each grading period, cull most of the work keeping only the best.
When the school calendar comes in, immediately put important dates into the family calendar. You don’t want to be caught short when there are teacher work days, early dismissals, known field trips, etc.
When the first general informational letter comes in, put into your phone important contact numbers such as the main office, the guidance counselor, or the nurse. Put titles into the contact list as well as the name (Nurse Sara Nightingale).
Set up a plan for all incoming paper your child carries home. Have a landing pad for all papers that you need to see such as field trip permission slips, picture day schedule, and item requests. At the beginning of the year, each day ask your child “Do you have anything that needs to be put in the basket for me to look over?” As the school year progresses you can fade out the questioning and let him become independent.
Most schools have planners where the children log in their homework assignments. At the beginning of the school year, check these daily. Have a calendar at your child’s workstation where he can learn to schedule projects that take more than one evening. Weekly clean out the backpack and put all graded work and art into a bin.
The first weeks of school can be stressful so plan ahead. Start practicing the week before school waking up to an alarm and following a morning routine. In the beginning use timers so that your child can play “beat the clock”. How much you break up the morning routine will depend on your child’s age and maturity. Older children might just need:
Gather all supplies to go out the door
While younger children might need:
Get ready to go out the door
Have an assigned place for backpacks. Make it a nightly ritual to have backpacks ready and in place for the next school day.
Establish regular routines to minimize the morning hassle. Shoes will be lost. The soccer uniform will not have gotten washed. The dog will throw up on the rug. So control what you can and leave time for life absurdities.
Have a great school year!
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer