Get Ready for Back-to-School
Only one month (give or take) until back-to-school! Here is an easy one-chore-a-day check list to get your home, family and life organized for a smooth transition from lazy summer to hectic fall.
One month out
• Check in with kids on summer reading. If they are behind, help them calculate — and stick to — a pages-per-day reading rate. • Prune kids’ clothing. Pass along hand-me downs before people go out shopping and make notes on what your kids need, so you can avoid overspending. • Organize your kids’ homework stations; take inventory of supplies. Do it before downloading teachers’ recommended supply lists. You may be surprised at how much you already have in stock. • If your kids are watching TV or tell you they are bored, hand them a pile of scratch paper and set them to work sorting, testing, and sharpening pencils, markers, and pens. • If feeling ambitious (and/or frugal), organize a clothing and sporting equipment swap with friends and neighbors; let kids ‘shop’ for things they like so your space does not become occupied with things that never get worn. • Check to see if kids’ physicals and vaccinations are up to date. • Schedule doctor, dentist, eye, and other appointments for the coming 6-12 months — being early gives you a better chance of getting after-school, before-, or after-work time slots. • Go through your unmatched sock pile (you know you have one!). If the mates have not turned up over the summer, they are never going to, so toss them. • Do basic computer maintenance — organize and archive old files, defrag your hard drive, virus check, and remove spyware to maximize speed. A couple of weeks out • Get haircuts. No kid wants that just-cut look; beat the rush and do 2-3 weeks before first day of school. • Inspect backpacks and lunch boxes. Zippers unstuck and in working order? No moldy food still hanging about last year? You are good to go. • Try on and inspect sneakers, cleats, helmets and other sporting equipment. • Make a date with each kid individually to shop for essentials. By focusing on one child at a time, you will shop more effectively and be less likely to overspend. • Look online for important dates and make a schedule of sports and other activity signups. • Clean and vacuum your car. • Get your kids practicing math facts over breakfast and brushing up on basic skills (two great sites: http://www.khanacademy.org/ and http://www.ixl.com/) • Purchase (or clean out) storage bins — one per child — to serve as catch alls for periodic backpack, folder, and binder purges.
A few days out
• Make a wake-up and daily ablutions schedule for your family — especially if kids will be throwing last year’s morning schedule off by changing schools. • Set and discuss expectations for kids’ household chores during the school year. • Scrounge up a couple of weeks’ worth of change and small bills (or load your kids’ lunch accounts online). • Stock up on snacks and lunch supplies. • Cook and freeze a few favorite, healthy meals. • Plan one last day at the beach or an amusement park outing — a last hurrah! • Call MaidPro to schedule a thorough cleaning of your home, your refrigerator, and/or oven (to take place a few days after the kids are no longer around messing up your house all day!)