Be a Back to School Routine Machine!

Getting your well-oiled school routine machine back into working order is not an easy task. During the summer months, kids get used to waking up later, everybody gets used to more varied schedules with lots of time for physical activities, and there’s no homework to contend with, freeing you all up to do more things.

But with each passing day, we get a step or two closer to those military-like school routines. Spare yourself (and your family) the culture shock with these simple ideas for getting back on track for Back to School.

Sarah on “Good Calendar Habits”

“Set up a family communication station complete with a “Family appointment book.” I suggest an 8 by 11 planner with plenty of space to write everything from football games to company meetings and dinner plans. The entire family should know what’s going on at work, at school, after school, and socially, so no one gets double booked or overwhelmed. If you use a digital calendar, input all calendar updates every morning as well, so nothing gets lost in the shuffle. With the various activities your kids will be involved in this fall, the sooner you organize who is picking them up when and where, the better – so as soon as you get the calendars from the school, sit down and put them in your digital one. At the same time you do that, update your contact lists and address books with the names and contact information for new teachers, coaches, and carpool buddies. That way, you’ll important information available if you need it in a pinch.”

Alicia on “Utilizing Chore Delegation”

“You should not be taking care of the home on your own! Organize a chore chart with appropriate chores for each child depending on age. Ask nicely for help, but set up the expectations and rules before the busy days of school start. For example, try the 2 minute commercial break chore. Have your kids take out the trash or put the silverware away during the commercial breaks of their favorite after school television shows. Most of the chores you give them don’t take more that 10 or 15 minutes anyway, but they won’t feel like they are missing out on anything if they do them during commercials.”

Here are a few more ways to stay on track the new school year:

1. Think Long Term

Keep a two-month, laminated, calendar in a central place like the kitchen, mud room or laundry room. Every family member can have their own color marker to write in their upcoming activities. With that in place, everyone will know what is coming up in one central place.

2. Give Your Kids the Tools to Manage Their Own Schedule

Give your students a planner of their own along with some incentives for getting in the habit of using it. For example, give them one sticker for each day they write in all of their homework assignments and activities. If they get a full week of stickers, reward them with a special dessert on Friday night (or with a later bed time on Friday.)

3. The Clutter Ate My Homework

Get rid of that nasty paper pile on the counter with individual boxes or color coded magazine boxes for each child. In each box, have folders for Items that need to be read/signed by Mom & Dad, an In folder, and an Out folder. After you sign the papers, and your kids do their homework, it goes into the Out folder, and into the backpack. Anything that is included in newsletters like the school festival or field trips is immediately written on the large family calendar and in the family agenda notebook.