By Barbara Reich
Author of Secrets of an Organized Mom
As summer draws to a close, busy moms have one thing on the brain: back to school. From doctor's appointments and buying new clothes to school supply shopping and trips to the grocery store, your schedule is jam-packed. This season, make prepping for your special student's first day a cinch by streamlining your schedule and getting rid of last year's mess with easy solutions.
Re-establish your children's bedtime and mealtime routines at least one week before school starts. Include any activities that were suspended during the summer such as pre-bedtime reading and household chores.
Sort through old clothes. Take some time to go through your children's closets to see what clothes still fit them from last year and which clothes they can share with their siblings as hand me downs. This way you can plan accordingly when going back to school shopping and not purchase things that you do not need.
Stock up on school supplies. Certain schools/teachers will give you a specific list of supplies that will be needed, but you can make sure you have the basics on hand: pencils, lined paper, erasers, rulers.
Register for after-school activities. Ensure that your child doesn't get shut out of the Tuesday afternoon ballet class or the only basketball class that will fit into his/her schedule. Sign up early for what you know your child wants to do.
Arrange carpools and other transportation. Know how your child is getting to school and after-school activities.
Schedule appointments before school starts. Instead of pulling your child out of school, make dentist and doctor appointments at the end of the summer.
Use a master calendar. Whether you affix a calendar to a wall, post it on the refrigerator, or keep track of your family's activities electronically, what's important is that every activity for each family member is recorded in one place. This guarantees that you'll avoid the stress of double booked activities, impossible logistics, and overscheduling.
Institute weekly family meetings that prepare each member of your family for the upcoming week. Young children might remind you that they need to bring cookies for the bake sale, older children might remind you that they need to be driven somewhere, and you can remind your family that you won't be home for dinner on a particular night.
Barbara Reich is a professional organizer who lives in New York City with her husband, 13-year-old twins, and puppy. She takes a tough love approach to help everyone turn organization from a chore to a lifestyle. Her book, Secrets of an Organized Mom, is currently on shelves. Find out more about Barbara on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.
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