It may seem like just yesterday that your children came home singing ‘no more pencils, no more books,' but back-to-school season is upon us once again!
When I was growing up, back-to-school season was my favorite time of year. I would get so excited near the end of August when it was time for new school supplies, an updated lunch box, and a cool new backpack! I was always happy to get myself organized before the first day of school.
Not surprisingly, many people don't share this enthusiasm! The yearly ritual of back-to-school preparation can feel more like an upheaval than a fresh start. Shopping for new school supplies, clothes, and extra-curricular equipment takes time, money, and energy that we don't always feel we can spare. And establishing new schedules for yourself and your children can be overwhelming to say the least. But there are a few ways you can help ease the transition while keeping your sanity!
A smart place to start is to create an inventory of everything you need before you get sucked into the commercialism of the season. This will help eliminate the over-abundance of school supplies that many households end up with. It's fun to have new pens, pencils, notebooks, and the like, but if you've already got most of these necessities on hand, try to resist the urge to buy more. Use what you've got first, then re-stock when the time is right. Buy only what you need.
Even better, why not create a school supply box of your previously-used, but not-ready-for-the-trash items where each child goes to look first to see if they truly need something new? Not only will you be demonstrating to your kids the importance of re-using and repurposing your belongings, you'll also save yourself last-minute trips to the store when a project is due the next day and there's a glue stick emergency!
Finally, time management can be a real struggle for busy moms and dads. Having a good system for recording important appointments, school events, sports games and practices, and parent/teacher meetings is essential for sanity. Many of my tech-savvy clients use an electronic or online organizing system. For the paper-based crowd, however, a large desk or wall calendar/whiteboard combination can help you gain control of your time. Hanging it in a place where family members can view it is informative to all and helps everyone feel like they're part of the process.
Getting ready for a new school year shouldn't feel like detention for you or your kids. A bit of forethought and preparation will go a long way. I hope these options will provide some school-year sanity for your family!