It's summer time and really hot here on the west coast of Canada. No doubt it's hard to think about the school year starting again when we're just trying to stay cool and make the best of this heat wave!
'Back to school' will be right around the corner, soon enough however, and there are lots of things parents can do ahead of time to reduce the stress that is sure to bubble up as the first day of school approaches.
Here are my top 11 picks for this years 'Back to School' Pre-Planning Checklist.
1. Update Your Calendar
Get a copy of the school calendar and note all days off, early release dates, meet-the-teacher nights and any sport event dates of interest. Put everything in one calendar for yourself (or shared family calendar) that shows your work, events, holidays, school dates, etc. Build in your vacations and time off. Make a note of the dates you'll need off and send in your time-off requests. Do this asap so you can be first in line to get the time you need as much as possible.
2. Think Back to Plan Ahead.
Did things go perfectly according to plan last year? I doubt it, as what they say about "Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans" tends to hold true for most of us. While making your plans for the year ahead consider what you could do differently this year to make things go smoother.
3. Arrange for Sunday Night Planning Sessions
You have your calendar, yet things change and it's good to be flexible. Before your busy weeks starts sit down as family and discuss your plans for the week ahead. Consider timing and logistics of events coming up and plan to prepare for things as far ahead as possible. (For example: if you have an exceptionally busy day coming, see if you can prepare meals, wardrobe and other things the night before, then build this time into your schedule too.)
5. Make a Sick-Day Game Plan
If you use a sitter, plan ahead and book time with them. If you’re using an after-school program, make sure you’ve paid all necessary deposits, arranged transportation if applicable and know the process for the first day of after-school care. It’s also important to know the program policies on early release days, snow days, school closings.
4. Plan Care and After-school Services
Working parents know the challenges of getting a call from the school nurse when they can’t get away from their work. First, get to know the schools policy as there may be forms to fill out ahead of time. Line up a trusted care provider, another trusted parent, or babysitter that could help you in a pinch
6. Stock Up Supplies
Some schools will provide a list of school supplies your child may need. Take a copy and create your list of what you will need. Take an inventory of what you have before buying more and put your list in your smart phone or write it out, yet be sure to get it ready in time to shop. (Check out this great little planner from ListPlanIt to get you started)
7. Create a Homework Centre
8. Create a Morning Launch Pad
Some of the best advise I've heard includes thoughts on teaching children how they can be more responsible. Create a designated spot where school things like backpacks and lunch boxes always go, so you can avoid last-minute scrambles in the morning.
Click back to this post to "Create a Central Station to Conquer the Morning Mayhem"
9. Back Up the Lunch Money
If your school offers a school lunch account, put some money in it before school starts.
10. Clear Closet Clutter
Pull out all of the clothing your child no longer fits into, or no longer likes and donate them. Having extra space makes putting clothes and shoes away allot easier.
Go through what's left and make a list of what you'll need to shop for.
11. Stock the Freezer
If you have meals you can make and freeze in advance, do so, especially if you want to save yourself some unnecessary stress later. I've heard you can even freeze some types of sandwiches in advance too. I am sure a Google search can provide you with some creative ideas, if you are so inclined.
If you have any back-to-school tips that have worked for you, I'd love to hear them. Good luck all of you in the new school year!