I know it may feel like you don’t need one more thing (let alone five) to do before back to school but these five things will make your whole school year go smoother and are SO worth the time and effort. Don’t panic! You still have several weeks depending on where you live, which is plenty of time.
1. Clean, Organize, Purge Go through the closets, drawers, backpacks, nooks and crannies. Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit any longer or is flat worn out. Have two large boxes or bags in each room, one for donation, and one for the dump. Remember to not donate anything you wouldn’t want to have given to you. If it is torn, stained, worn or missing buttons no one else wants it either.
2. Make Your Lists Make a list of the items needed to fill in the school supply list and wardrobe for each child. This one step makes it so easy to know what to shop for with laser focus and also makes it easy to say, “No” at the store for items wanted but not on the list. We have found we have most of the school supply list items left from last year if we but look. It has saved our family a ton of money this time of year. Also, it allows you and the kids to stay focused on the items they need for their wardrobe instead of feeling like a cat chasing a laser light in big department stores.
3. Shop I take all three kids with me for the school supply shopping which is insanity but allows me to use coupons like the $10 off any purchase of $50 or more at Office Depot I have. One of my children needs a new backpack this year so I know I can save with that coupon. Taking more than one kid to shop is difficult if you don’t have your list and know exactly what you need so get that done before you go. The wardrobe shopping I take each child for some one on one time. It is a fun way to connect before school starts. We usually get a smoothie or some other fun drink and spend a couple of hours hanging out. This one “day” is one thing my kids treasure and look forward to every year.
4. Set Goals Every year before school starts I sit down with each of my kids and we talk about what went well last year and what they liked. We then discuss what they would like to do better, what experiences they would like to have this year and what their goals are. Some years there are 10 goals, some years there are 3. I don’t care about the number of goals as long as they are genuine. In the past I have typed up the goals and then placed them in an inexpensive frame somewhere in the kids room so they see it all year. We talk about those goals throughout the year and check in on how the kids are doing and what support they need from us as parents. This setting goals step is a fun step for us and we all look forward to it. Some ideas from our past goals from the kids include: Make three new friends. Read 20 minutes a night. Play a team sport. Learn how to throw pottery. Get a 3.75 GPA. Hire a math tutor.
5. Make Phone Calls, Set Schedules This step is where I usually fail. The goal setting step above helps me because the kids hound me so they can complete their goals. I have the numbers for gymnastics, the rec district, math tutor, pottery guru listed and need to call them all today. I am trying out the family calendar this year instead of having it all electronic on my phone. It is going to have the soccer, gymnastic, lacrosse, tutoring, dinner, doctor schedule on it. I will let you know how it goes! One thing we are also trying this year is a house cleaning dinner making schedule. My kids are great about doing whatever I ask them to do when I ask them so I am fortunate. However, I am thinking if I FINALLY set a chore schedule it may help me and them. Also, we are making a “You make dinner night” for each family member this year. Each kid is responsible for the menu and cooking for one night a week. They get to pick the things that they cook and have to make sure we have the ingredients. If we don’t, it needs to be written on the grocery list for the week. The idea is that once your family gets in this habit, life is easier. I am apprehensive about the “before your family get in the habit” stage but am going to give it a go.
Happy back to school season everyone. Indulge yourself in a little guilty pleasure this time of year. My favorites? A new notebook and pretty pen for me for lists or journaling, new tennis shoes for walking, and a back to school hair cut just for mom. What have you found that you do for yourself this time of year? What are your favorite tips and tricks?
About Author Juliet Carr
Juliet Carr is a spunky irreverent sorta girl whose soul found its home on the Western Slope of the Colorado Mountains. Juliet is madly and deeply head over heels in love with her husband and children, ages 15, 8, and 4. She finds that being mom to kids who are each at such different stages of childhood is really interesting, and she loves watching her three children grow into the people they are meant to be. She is an author and founder of a non-profit organization and serves on a local and state board of directors whose focus is suicide prevention. This mama wears her heart on her sleeve and speaks her truth from her heart.