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!
Let's get Crafty!
Here is an easy way to have fun and create a nifty art storage case for your child's art projects.
Not only is this a practical exercise, it is also a great way to spend quality time with the kids.
Be sure to allow them a chance to get crafty and help decorate it as you build it.
As you put the it together have the kids sort their artwork and maybe decide to let go a few of their less favorite pieces. Narrowing down their collection to the ‘Best of the Best’ will help ease clutter and leave you all with their best works to praise over and over again.
Once you create the case, by simply folding the construction paper together and sealing up the sides, cut a handle in it if you like.
Then when you have the main part together, the kids can decorate it! Depending on their age you may need to help, but either way let them get their creativity going and have fun!
Here's all that I used to make this one:
You don't have to stop with one. At approximately $1 per sheet, you can make many more and not break the bank. For example you can make one for each school year, and for each child (if you have multiple children). You can even create one to hold more craft paper for future works.
Safety Tip: Remember to watch when using a stapler that you tape the seam up to prevent any snags on clothing or little fingers. Ouch!
More Important Tip: Have Fun!
& if you want to share your creation afterwards, I would be thrilled to see them and post them to my blog and perhaps newsletter. I relish the thought of getting to see just how creative my readers are!
by Ella Andrews
Child’s room is may be the messiest place in every home, but it is also the one that gives you most freedom to show your creativity.
This room always needs some cleaning, tidying or reorganizing, but there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. Working on different projects can be a real fun, especially if you are doing it with your children. And seeing their happy looks after all the work has been done is a prize for your efforts.
If your goal is to provide the kid’s room with a completely new appearance, it is a good idea first to choose a theme and follow it during the whole process. This will make your work a lot easier and will ensure great results. Respect your children’s opinion when picking the room’s concept, because this will be their place and it’s very important that they feel comfortable and happy in it.
Do not reject their ideas – a football playground, mini zoo or a flower garden, in the beginning they may sound unachievable to you, but you will be surprised how many interesting solutions will come up to your mind.
OK, you have come to a consensus with your kid, selected a theme and made the first steps of painting the walls, cleaning the rugs and carpets, refreshing the old pieces of furniture or changing it with new ones.
But what comes next? There are plenty of toys, books, clothes and shoes and all of them wait to be gathered and arranged, an important and often tough task. You can simplify it by following this logic – the more your child uses something, the lower level you should storage it at. There is absolutely no point in putting something your kid needs daily in a place too high to reach. Adults often forget to think like children and that is the main reason for their mistakes when it comes to the design of a kid’s room.
A great idea is to put labels as much, as possible. You can use plastic boxes, cardboard ones or whatever containers you want, just label them and wait for the benefits. This will not only help your children clean and organize their belongings more effectively, but it will be also very useful for improving their reading skills. For smaller kids you can use pictures at first (e.g. socks, shirts) and start writing the words next to them after a while. You can even play a matching labels game with the kid, while picking up toys from the ground.
There are thousands creative solutions for children’s room cleaning and organizing.
Magnetic holders for toy cars – put them on the wall and your child will have both well organized toys and additional decoration for the room. Deal with the problem of constantly scattered Lego pieces – create a set of containers for each color and make your child put the pieces in the right one every time after playing. Involving the kinds into the cleaning process is also a great way for learning the different colors. It is also very useful to have some transparent jars or boxes for small things like hair accessories, pastels or puzzle pieces, so that they can be easily seen and put back in their places after.
You got me!!
Other than occasionally acting like a big kid, or taking care of someone else’s on a temporary basis, I personally don't have any children and can only imagine the true experience of having to care for them full-time.
Yet, what I do have to share is some tips and strategies that I have picked up during my quest to learn more about organizing. And since this week’s topic is residential solutions, I thought I would include a few strategies in helping to organize kids spaces too.
Let’s talk strategy first, after all these little ‘Mini Me's’ learn fast and they learn from you so keep in mind five little tips:
As for making it easy for kids to stay organized, consider these tips:
Lastly, give the little ones a special hug for me!