How to Simplify Back to School Transition

 

Back to school transition

 

Back. to. school. It’s time when we reset, organize, plan and set new routines.  It’s a transition from lots of free time to structure and deadlines.  Maybe transition is more difficult for you and your family?  We can simplify this transition with these tips.

 

Simple calendars and planners

Families + school time = dates and deadlines. Make it easy for you and your family and a calendar everyone can access. Google calendar is available on all devices to connect families to what’s due when, what needs to be purchased, and when will the parents be available.  Encourage your family to all populate the calendar during your family meeting.

 

Simple labels

Stuff gets lost and families don’t know where stuff goes. Make it easy with a label.  Label school binders, devices, lunch boxes and clothes. Label your pantry where lunch fixings are found.

 

Simple bedtime routines

The age old question of preparation for a shift in bedtimes. Parent ask, “do we start a week out with earlier bedtime or just have the kids crash the first week of school from exhaustion?” Only you know the kiddos in your home best. Take care of yourself with your own earlier bedtime the week before school starts. If you are well rested, everything will be better!

 

Simple laundry

Whittle down the loads this year with fewer clothes for everyone. Laundry and closet organizing work best with less.  How many items for each of you?  Start with just 7 sets of clothes that coordinate through a capsule wardrobe. It will save money and time!

 

Simple mornings

  • Family has been getting up later and later all summer. This transition is one of the biggest!  Getting up on time for school starts with everyone having an alarm clock.  Be sure these are set correctly the first few weeks of school, then practice getting up just a smidge earlier than you think.  Make morning simple by getting lunch and what you are wearing together the night before.
  • Place analog clocks in transition spots throughout your home. An analog clock helps you see time elapsing and helps you be on time.  Clocks are best in bathrooms, bedrooms, and by the exit and entry doors.
  • Use music to keep everyone energized and positive.  A morning playlist can be played at a low volume.

 

All transitions take time.  Celebrate the first day of school success!   Give yourself the opportunity to create a positive transition by scheduling less on the first weekends school is open. This extra time translates to more rest and more time like summer with less structure.  Keep spirits and energy high with family fun bike rides, ice cream sundae parties or family game night. Expect a few tears and set aside time to acknowledge the toughness of the first few weeks of school because of this transition.

 

More ideas on ADHD here in my newsletter.

Professional Organizers’ Favorite Planners

professional organizers' favorite planners

 

My clients and my colleagues are often searching for the perfect planner.  There’s a range of options for all of us, from digital to paper.   I polled my colleagues to help you determine what planners are most popular and why!

 

Planner requirements

What helps you determine the planner you choose?

  • Ability to quickly assess and add appointments
  • Agility in adding information to your planner
  • Size and portability
  • Attractive cover and interior pages

 

Here’s the responses

MaryJo: I’m a 100% digital calendar. I can color code and set reminders. I don’t leave home without my phone so I always have my calendar.

 

Melony: I’m old school. Franklin Covey Classic, ring bound 5.5×8.5, leather zip planner with lots of pockets.

 

Michelle: I have Erin Condren, Life Planner vertical layout this year. I like the format but it is so bulky.

 

Judy: The planner I love is the discbound planner with inserts (happy planner). I use the Louis Vuitton Monogram cover to hold everything together. I love this style of planner because you can customize it to your liking.

 

Me: I love the planner pad and love Outlook reminders. I have a hybrid system that works for me. I am visual so a paper planner lets me see it all and easily write in appointments. I have a few pockets for papers and use a binder clip to keep a pad of paper in the front.

 

Whatever your system, remember to have a weekly planning time with your planner and task list. It’s time to schedule your tasks and check on appointments.

 

More on planners and time management here!

9 Ways to Simplify Back to School

 



It’s a combination of happy and sad when back to school comes around. We are reluctant to get back to routines and there’s a big to do list to prepare for the upcoming school year. We tend to think of back to school as a long series of complicated, expensive, and arduous tasks that go on and on!  Use this list of 9 ways to simplify your back to school preparations to be ready to start the school year.

 

1. Start with a list of all that is needed before the school year begins. No need to recreate the wheel here! There’s the Good Housekeeping supply list for school supplies.  There’s countdown lists for appointments on Finder.com.  Now compare and create what works for you with a timeline on your family calendar. Your family calendar is your personal guide and helps you create a team with your partner to accomplish and check off requirements.  Pace yourself or consolidate tasks with a power day.  Think of it as project management.

 

2. Kids and parents need to remember to hydrate all day. Purchase water bottles for everyone including yourself to be sure you are keeping water by your side.

 

3.  Still have last year’s papers to review?  Make it fun with one on one kiddo time together. Spend 30 – 60 minutes reviewing last year’s papers, keeping what you both think are precious.

 

4. Set up this year’s command center for incoming papers.  You will be ready for all the incoming information.

 

5. Prep for all types of communication styles with a capture tool that works for you.

  • Think about what paper or digital tool works best for you.  For me it’s my planner pad. Options include an app, a spiral notebook or post it notes.  Make it this year’s goal to use one capture tool effectively and efficiently.
  • For email, create a single sub-folder to store incoming info from your kids schools.  A single sub-folder to move emails keeps your inbox cleaner and gives you one place to look for information.  Name this subfolder by kid, by school or just a single sub-folder names Schools.
  • For text, move information to email by copying and then email yourself so you can track information to a single source.
  • For the rare voice mail message, capture that information with an email, make a note in Evernote, or write this on your paper task list.

 

6.  Set up your school supplies in a school supply center.  Grab all your existing supplies and review what you have.  Purchase what is needed and set up a center for easy access for your kiddos.

 

7. Making lunches is can be a highlight of the week for everyone.  Set up a lunch making section of your refrigerator and pantry.   Leave one shelf in each area specifically for lunch box friendly fare that is ready to place in the box.   Create a shopping list with your family to be sure items are delivered to your home that make lunch making healthy and easy.

 

8. Set up a family meeting time to talk about this year’s successes.  Your family meeting is key to collaboration and communication.  Hosting this weekly will keep your family organized and keep you productive.

 

9. Most important about back to school is getting the rest you all need as a family.  Everyone in your family needs time to relax and time to rest.  That translates to getting to bed earlier the week or weekend before and having some time at home to prepare for the transitions ahead. When there’s less sleep, everything seems harder!

 

Don’t get overwhelmed with year with back to school. Keep it simple, pace yourself and know what your priorities are.  Choose one thing to accomplish each day to feel like you are making progress.