September just snuck up on us again, didn't it? The most important task on your list right now should be making sure you have organizing and time-management systems in place. By doing this you will create less stressful days and be ready to handle any unforeseen obstacles that may arise in the new school year.
Cash on Hand. Keep a supply of single dollar bills and a couple of rolls of quarters on hand in a kitchen drawer so you're all set for last minute petty cash needs.
Coordinate Calendars. Each family member should have a calendar that they carry with them. Take time each evening to coordinate everyone's schedule and transfer information into each calendar. You may want to use a different colored pencil for each family member to easily differentiate between schedules. And use pencil in your calendars so you can easily make changes.
Information Center. Create a common area in your home for incoming and outgoing paperwork. This is especially useful for paperwork that comes home from school with your children--permission slips, homework, notes from teachers, etc. Each family member should have an in box and be held accountable for taking care of what is in their box.
Keep Backpacks Organized. It's never too soon to teach your children organizing skills. Organized backpacks will help alleviate stress for your child. They will always have what they need on hand and will easily find what they are looking for.
Phone Numbers. Make a phone list that specifically relates to school and your children. Keep a copy at home, in your wallet and in your child's backpack. It should include phone numbers of the school, after-school activities, cell phones, emergency contacts, carpool partners', etc. This saves time both at home and on the road and relieves anxiety if you're ever delayed. Even if you have these numbers programmed in your cell phone, keep an extra list in case you forget or misplace your cell phone.
School Supplies. Purchase school supplies early and consider and extra set for home use or as a back-up for school. Include lunch boxes and backpacks as part of the supplies. Set up an area in the home where these supplies are stored for easy use.
Start the day off right. Getting everyone out of the house in the morning may seem like an impossible task but with some forethought, it is easily accomplished. Stress free mornings help set the tone for the rest of the day. It is important that everyone leaves the house feeling calm instead of rushed and stressed. Take some time to plan everyone's morning routine based on the time they need to leave the house and work backwards to figure out wake up times. This plan is also a good way to make sure there are no conflicts in areas such as bathroom time.
Time for Homework. Make sure that you allow time for homework in your child's after school schedule. It can be scheduled in just as their after school activities.