This is a sponsored post about managing the back to school season. We’re still over a week out from school starting here but I’m already sort of cringing a little bit inside at what is yet to come. I’m a Brownie leader, apparently also now a Sunday School teacher (although I’m sharing this with 2 other moms), I have 3 kids who will be playing soccer, a son who’s going to start Boy Scouts, a daughter in gymnastics and a daughter in dance. Trying to sort this whole new routine out is a little daunting, but I’m making a list of things to help stay organized and on top of things.
1. Calendar. Have a calendar on the wall that has a color for each kid. That way, even the kids who can’t read can know that they have “something” on the day they see their color. I need to find an enormous calendar so I can put things like stickers for gym days, dance shoes for dance…that kind of thing. Or I need to get separate calendars for each kid.
Not just for kids, but include meal ideas on the calendar. Even if you have a family “meeting” of sorts on Sundays to decide what you will eat for the week, it leaves the person who has to prepare dinner with a plan and ideas. It also makes shopping for groceries easier since you know what you will prepare- and save time in making lists.
2. Organization board. Wouldn’t you just know that we’re in the middle of gutting our breezeway but I have this decent-sized cork board and I’m going to make it into organization/calendar central. This is where we can keep papers for each kid, things that have to be signed or saved, their weekly schedules, etc., keep track of library books due. That kind of thing.
With the beginning of the school year comes all of the papers to fill out and be signed. Parents, you know what I’m talking about. Eleventy billion pieces of paper…multiplied by how many kids you have. It’s a LOT to keep track of, and not always something that we can sit down and complete in one sitting. That’s why each kid will have a folder on that board- clearly labelled- so we can all keep track of who’s paper is what. I actually filled out my son’s paperwork in triplicate last year before realizing what I’d done so not only did I waste all that time, cover my pinky in ink (I’m a lefty) and get a cramp in my hand, I had to humbly ask for 2 more sets of papers from the school and fill them all out AGAIN for each of the girls. Don’t be like the Brett of the 2012-2013 school year.
I am going to have a meal plan section for this too so I can get all of our favorite meal ideas up and hopefully help simplify my dreaded what do I make for dinner times. Being organized with meal and menu plans will also help ME to get dinner prepped and cooked on the days when we have after school activities and I won’t be able to cook after school, but will need to cook midday. (My actual organization board/station is a work in progress since that room is under construction but when it’s done, I”ll update this with a photo). Being organized saves a LOT of time and makes that hectic back to school season a little less hectic.
3. Routine. We need to get into a routine. Routines are great for all families. Figuring this out BEFORE school starts is key- so, starting today? We’re getting up, making beds, cleaning out backpacks, and doing extra journaling. Bedtime isn’t whenever anymore, it’s 7:30 sharp. Baths or showers after dinner…you know. Whatever our school routine is going to be, that’s what we’ll be practicing.
4. Delegate. No matter how old or young your kids are, even toddlers can help with household tasks. All 3 of my kids fed the dog and/or cat before they were 2. Scoop of food into dish. Voila. My kids also clear their own dishes from the table. Life is going to be busy, and hectic, but for example- my oldest is 8 and wants to have money of her own. So she’ll be able to earn $1 each time she sorts the laundry baskets full of laundry into each family members’ piles. Putting away the laundry can earn her more money. She’s learning reponsibility and I have effectively delegated a task. Win- win, right?
There’s a lot that kids can help with- it also teaches them responsibility at the same time. We keep the kids’ dishes in a drawer next to the dishwasher- that’s so they can access whenever they want. It also means that from a young age, all 3 kids have been able to help unload the dishwasher. They are able to help and it’s a little less for me to do.
5. SYNC. This just may be the most important one for we parents. Sync those calendars. The schedules. Routines. If the soccer coach emails one parent the practice and game schedules, forward the email to your spouse. I can’t tell you enough how much having a calendar feature on my phone that is synched to my email account has saved me and made me more organized. There’s many many reasons I love this amazing and wonderful and glorious calendar feature on my phone, but
- I can set reminder alerts for whenever I want.
- I can see if we’ve already got other things going on that day and NOT overbook myself
- Did I mention the reminder alerts? I can have email and pop up alerts to my heart’s content.
- We can share a calendar. By we I mean my husband and me. So even if he forgets to tell me he’ll be wicked late because he has a work meeting, I can see it. Or if we’re not going to be home until super late because there’s a game in a neighboring town, he can see that too.
Seriously. I can’t even explain how much I love having a calendar for family activities that is accessible to me almost 24/7. It’s saved me and helped me be more organized. It might be my favorite tech thing ever. It’s a beautiful thing!
Help your family manage the back to school season with Sprint’s limited time Buy One, Get One FREE offer on the brand new HTC One. Got a kid heading back to school? Get one for them, and one for you! Or get one for you and one for your spouse. I won’t judge. Of course, if one of you wanted to get the HTC One but didn’t have someone to give it to, I would gladly help you out. I’m hearing really great things about this phone and would love to try it! (Kidding. Mostly).
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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Sprint via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Sprint0