While you likely welcome the start of school, getting ready for the first day requires both organization and cooperation from your kids. Use the following checklist to get everyone on the same page.
The school typically provides a list of must-needed supplies. Find it, then head to the office supply store to fill up your cart. Save yourself time and keep your stress level in check by going first thing in the morning or at night when crowds are light. Divide the list into as many sections as you have family members and make shopping a scavenger hunt. The first person to get everything on his or her list wins a prize! Create teams if you have children too young to shop alone, with an adult on each side.
Once home, take everything out of the packaging — recycle what you can and toss the rest — and put everything in its proper place, whether inside a brand-new backpack or in your child’s home study area.
Speaking of where your kids will do their homework, they should have their own space, preferably a small desk in each of their bedrooms. This allows them to focus on the task at hand without the distraction of family hustle and bustle. Providing each of your kids with a bulletin/dry-erase board for assignments also will help keep them organized and on track.
Just as you shopped for school supplies as a team, do the same for the first week of school lunches. The We Can! Program, sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, offers plenty of tips on how to make lunches both fun and healthy. It suggests picking a theme for each day of the week, such as Dip Day, on which you will pack baked chicken breast strips with honey mustard for dipping, as well as carrots and broccoli with a healthy ranch dressing. The website also suggests mixing up the sides you pack, including snap peas, cucumbers or air-popped, low-fat popcorn instead of the traditional unhealthy chips.
Since you likely will be the one making lunch for your kids, and since you likely will do so early in the a.m., make the task easier by creating an area for school lunch supplies in your fridge. Put everything in a bin so you can just grab and go with ease, especially if you perform this task before your first cup of coffee.
Just as you gave each of your kids a bulletin/dry erase board, give one to the entire family so everyone knows the schedule for any given day or week. Hang it in the kitchen so kids can check before they leave. Not only does this help everyone stay on schedule, it reminds him or her to grab his or her athletic equipment/musical instrument/supplies for whatever the after-school activity will be.
One last tip: If a busy summer has left your home reeling from activity, consider having your cleaning crew do a spring-cleaning in the fall. That way, you will start the semester on a clean and organized note.