Even though there are still few more weeks until Dave is officially back in school, reality is starting to sink in here at the Dekker house, and back-to-school preparations are beginning.
While I’m definitely not anxiously anticipating the first day of school like I did back in elementary school, I do know that a little planning ahead is necessary on my part in order to assure a smooth transition into this very busy time of year.
And for those of you wondering why the back-to-school season is a busy time of year for someone with non-school-age kids, it’s because Dave is a teacher, so I’ll be transitioning from having him around all day to flying solo with 3 kids all day.
So yes, it will be a big adjustment for our family!
In my opinion, there are a few things that we can all do now to make the back-to-school season seem less busy, less stressed, and less chaotic.
It’s inevitable that this time of year will have more drop offs, pick ups, practices, games, recitals, events, meetings, and scheduling conflicts than during the summer months.
Take some time now to figure out what type of system you’ll use to keep track of everything — a physical planner, a family wall calendar, Google Calendar, an app on your phone, a bulletin board in a central location in your home, or some other system. There is no one “right way” to organize your family’s schedule, so pick the method that works best for you.
Personally, I’m still using a daily planner because our kids aren’t old enough to be able to read a family calendar. Dave and I also use Google Calendar to coordinate our schedules — and I use Google Calendar for many of my VA jobs as well.
If you think about it, so much of the craziness of the back-to-school season is because we’re rushing around in the morning, trying to scarf down breakfast while packing lunches.
And then there’s the whole after-school snack issue, as well as the “what’s for dinner” questions.
Although it’s definitely not one of my favorite things to do, I try to stay in the habit of planning out a week of meals every Sunday afternoon. And Dave and I are both in the habit of packing lunches and getting breakfast foods ready the night before.
Almost every night, I feel like just going to bed instead of getting things ready for the next day… but every single morning, I’m happy for the extra time I have thanks to planning ahead the night before.
Clothing is probably something you’re already thinking about when it comes to back-to-school — after all, you need to make sure the kids’ clothes fit. But this time of year is also a really great time to go through everyone’s closets and dressers, purging anything you don’t need, want, wear, or things that don’t fit.
While you’re organizing your clothing, take a few extra minutes to implement some type of system for picking out what clothes the kids will wear each day.
No huge surprise that I’m a huge advocate for picking out clothing the night before (Dave still does this every night, and I do too if I have to be somewhere the next day). It saves so much stress, arguments, and time the following morning.
I realize this is a really broad category — and no, I don’t think your entire home needs to be perfectly organized in order to alleviate the stress and busyness that accompanies the back-to-school time of year. However, I DO think it’s extremely beneficial to have some sort of organizational systems in places for certain areas of your home.
For example, the entryways to your home will be the dropping zone for backpacks, coats, books, shoes, etc. so take some time now to get the entryways organized.
If you think you can’t organize your entryway because it’s too small, here are two posts to check out:
Also, if you don’t have any sort of system for paper management, now might be a good time to figure that one out as I’m certain you’ll be inundated with papers over the next 9 months!
One more thing to think about is where your kids will be doing their school work. Will it be in their bedrooms, at the kitchen table, in a designated office area, or somewhere else? Once you have that decided, make sure that space is relatively clutter-free and stocked with the necessary homework supplies.
With just a little planning ahead now, the next couple of months should go much smoother and be a lot less stressful.
Personally, I can attest to the fact that focusing on the 4 areas listed above has been an effective way for our family to simplify the busy back-to-school season… hopefully it will work for your family too!