Back to School: 5 Tips for Parents
The time has come again! Summer is winding down, which means it's back to the books for all the students in your home. There are lots of resources out there for those going back to school, but we know it's just as important of a time for their parents as well. Mom and Dad deserve resources, too! Because it can be a notoriously busy and hectic time of year, I've put together a fool-proof, shortlist of to-do items to ensure a seamless transition into another school year.
1. Declutter/Inventory. That’s right, it’s time to purge every closet, every cupboard, every drawer, and under every bed. There are two important reasons for this:
- Clutter actually has a negative impact on the brain. It overloads your senses, thus making you stressed. It also weakens your ability to think creatively.
- In getting rid of what you don’t need, you discover what you have that is still useful. By inventorying everything in your house, you’ll likely save money because you won’t be buying things you didn’t know you already had.
We could do an entire blog post on how to declutter your home, but we'll leave it to the experts! The staff over at Budget Dumpster have put together an AMAZING step-by-step guide on how to do this. They'll make sure you hit every clutter hotspot in your home and come out feeling stress-free!
2. Clean. Anyone else enjoy cleaning as much as I do? No? That's okay — it's a necessary evil for most. The items we want to focus on the most during this time are the ones that don't get as much attention on a regular basis — like the fridge or the hall closet. These items don't need a deep clean weekly like the kitchen or bathroom and our friends at MenClean.com have put together just the motivational list you need to get it all done.
Their list suggests using cleaning products exclusively by Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, an entire cleaning line that substitutes harsh chemicals for natural, safe solutions. If you order from their site, you can even shop by scent if you have a favorite! How cool is that?
While we're on the topic of safe cleaners, be sure to grab a PhoneSoap 3 or a HomeSoap for the house. With the average cell phone being 18x dirtier than a toilet seat, it's important that they stay clean so that nobody gets sick.
This leads us to my favorite item on this list — shopping!
3. Shop. You might get a shopping checklist of items from the schools your kids are attending, but if not, check out this shopping list that covers every grade from kindergarten to college. Best of all, almost everything can be bought on Amazon, so if you've got an Amazon Prime membership you can get it all within 2 days AND it can be easily returned if you discover that you no longer need it.
Remember to check with your kids' teachers for any special supplies they might need or restrictions on what NOT to bring to class.
4. Organize. You've decluttered, you've cleaned, you've shopped. Now it's time to get everything where it belongs and prepare for what's to come.
Up first we've got a calendar. But not just any calendar, we have one that's big, dry-erase, and magnetic (for the fridge!). I recommend color-coding for each child. It's also helpful to keep a 12-month calendar filled out as well for events further in the future and transfer the information and events over each month.
Next, we tackle a simple and easy filing system for paperwork. I like the idea of getting a cabinet for each child and then different colored folders for each subject. This keeps track of past assignments for future reference and any important paperwork
Lastly, stock up! There is nothing worse than a forgotten assignment due the next day and no materials to finish it properly (I'm looking at you, posterboard). Buy some extras while you're out shopping to avoid a 9 p.m. crisis!
5. Schedule. You're just about done! All that's left to do is finalize a schedule that works for everyone.
With extracurricular activities, your daily schedule might vary. Before things get too hectic, figure out when everyone needs to be at school or work, then figure out when everyone will be available for dinner each night.
Now that you have the bones of your schedule filled out, it's time to fill it in. Before the school year begins, do a morning practice run to see how long it's going to take to get the kids to school each morning. You don't want to be late on the first day of school, first impressions are important!
Sometimes the hardest part of dinnertime is thinking of ideas. That's why meal prepping makes the days so much easier! The crockpot is my favorite invention, and I live by it during busy times. Here is a list of 60 (yes, SIXTY) crockpot recipes.
For some variety, I've also included a comprehensive guide to meal planning. It's long, but you'll learn a lot so grab a pen and a notebook from that school supply stash and start taking notes!
That's it, we're all done and YOU will be the most prepared parent of them all. Now you can kick back, relax, and enjoy some newfound free time while class is in session. ;) Good luck!