The long days of pools, popsicles and BBQs have been replaced with text books, pencils and homework. And whether parents are celebrating the return of 5-day-a-week classes or mourning the loss of lazy summer days, all families face the craziness that goes along with getting kids – and parents – ready for school.
Here are five simple tips and tricks to help smooth the transition:
A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING & EVERYTHING IN IT’S PLACE: Designate a specific place for each child’s school-day items. When everyone has a specific spot for their backpack, lunch pack, gym shoes, umbrella, etc., getting out the door in the morning is much easier. While there’s no guaranteeing kids will actually put things in their proper places, at least moms and dads will know where these items should be so a gentle reminder can be offered if needed.
PLAN FOR THE INEVITABLE PAPERWORK: Consider buying a stand-up file folder for homework, permission slips, etc., giving each child a designated slot. The stand-up design helps keep the documents visible, and therefore easier to remember. File folders made of wire mesh or a similar see-through material are beneficial for the same reason – the easier this paperwork is to see, the less likely it is to be forgotten. This is particularly helpful with long-term assignments and school notices that won’t be turned in the day after they’re brought home. This method could spare you finding out the night before that you’ve been asked to make 4 dozen cupcakes, your daughter needs to make a working volcano, and your son needs a Benjamin Franklin costume for the school assembly.
KEEP EVENTS FRONT AND CENTER: Create a family calendar showing extra-curricular activities, sports, field trips and work or family events so everyone can see at-a-glance what the day’s plan is. Hang or place the calendar in a public area such as the kitchen or near the garage door so everyone knows what everyone else is up to on a given day. Consider color-coding by family member.
STAY ONE STEP AHEAD: Determine which morning tasks can be accomplished the night before. For example – if your children have a bowl of cereal every morning, set the table with bowls and spoons before you go to bed. Lay out school clothes so there’s no morning fashion dilemmas, and double check backpacks for permission slips or assignments that need to be signed and returned.
SIMPLIFY MEALS: Plan dinner menus ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than looking into the refrigerator late in the afternoon and wondering, “What in the world are we gonna do for dinner?” Plan 4-5 meals ahead of time and grocery shop accordingly. Each morning it’s simply a matter of choosing one, taking out ingredients to thaw or cook as needed, and following your plan. Another easy tip is to keep dinner rolls and salad on hand – if you’ve got leftovers you can serve for dinner but are worried it might not be quite enough to feed the family, just add bread and salad and you’ve spared yourself a night cooking.
BONUS TIP: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TIME SAVING TOOLS: Back-to-school can be a time of transition with new teachers, new friends, new schedules and new responsibilities, leaving little time for basic things like cooking and cleaning. Let S.O.S® help! Nothing cleans crusty, baked-on pots and pans like S.O.S® Steel Wool Soap Pads and S.O.S® Non-Scratch Scrubbers safely and quickly clean non-stick cookware and so much more! Give yourself a break and use time saving tools like S.O.S® whenever possible. After all, you’ve got soccer practice to get to, cupcakes to bake, and a Benjamin Franklin costume to sew.