School daze: Reclaim the routine

September 4, 2012 | Posted in: Early Learners, Elementary, High School, Middle Years

Every August, we vow to be more organized for the start of school. The lazy days of summer have been fun for our kids, with plenty of opportunities to stay up late, sleep late and occasionally lounge around in pajamas all day. With the start of school, we realize a regular routine helps us all – parents and children – navigate.

We know from experience that the first day of school triggers an onslaught of papers that, even after nearly a dozen back-to-elementary-school seasons spread among several siblings, we’re never fully prepared for. Updated contact forms, PTA notices, school pictures, back-to-school nights… The amount of information that comes home in September can be overwhelming.

So for all our sakes, let’s recommit ourselves to a better organized start of school. Where do we begin?

Shop for school supplies together. It’s an annual event, though not necessarily a favorite both because of the time and expense it involves. However, by involving our kids in the process, we get more buy-in that the school year has really begun.

Get organized at home. Set aside a box or space for school notices. Make room for new school supplies and toss last year’s leftovers. Decide what to save and toss for each child. We like to save artwork and writing, or anything that expresses our children’s individuality/creativity. The bottom line however, is we can’t save everything. Setting guidelines for ourselves at the beginning of the school year makes it much easier to decide what to keep/toss.

Make copies of medical forms and health records and keep them all in one location. Our children will need them for either school or sports, so make extra copies to avoid adding a task to an already-burdened schedule this month.

Talk about the start of school. Take time to play on the playground so your child can get familiar with the new surroundings.

Create a calendar. Color-code activities for each member of the family to make it easier for everyone to read and follow.

Stock up on supplies at home if possible. Extra notebooks, pencils, erasers, glue sticks and poster board will help you avoid the late-night run for supplies for that project that’s due tomorrow.

Don’t let the fun end. It’s easy to get so caught up in the business of the fall schedule that we forget to have fun together. Set aside a little time – even just 10 or 15 minutes – to connect with each child every day.

Looking for more tips?

15 Tips for Getting Back Into the School Routine

15 Tips for Easy Back-to-School Transitions

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