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Get the family organized for back-to-school time PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

Back-to-school season is the ideal time for families to re-establish routines and get organized—both at home and on the go. But before hitting the stores for supplies, take time to plan ahead with shopping lists that meet both the children’s and family’s needs.

There are many great tips to help get a fresh start on the academic year ahead.

—Save. If one has more than one child, or want to stock up for the year, save on items like glue sticks, notebooks and writing utensils by taking advantage of sales and purchasing value packs, which are easy to find at back-to-school time. For better deals on items like tissues and sanitizing wipes, hold off until also buying these products for the home at a warehouse club or with coupons.

—Teach organization. Teach kids the importance of starting the day organized. One way to simplify the morning shuffle is by assigning a color to each child for easy identification of binders, backpacks and pencil pouches. Assign colors before shopping to prepare for easier in-aisle decisions. Or use color-coded stickers and labels to maintain consistency.

—Synchronize schedules. The school year often brings additional commitments for families. Creating a “mission control” in a central location in the home will improve communication and ease the stress of time management.

Look for calendars with high functionality like meal planners, “look-ahead” features, magnetic backings and repositionable peel-and-stick adhesives. Don’t forget to include a white board or cork board where notes can be left for one another.

Student planners are crucial to help children stay on top of due dates, keep their own commitments and operate on the same schedule as the rest of the family.

Vow to spend time on a weekly basis reviewing and synching calendars and discussing the week ahead.

—Manage papers. With each new school year comes an overwhelming amount of handouts, reminders, permission slips and medical forms. Parents and children all benefit from a paper management system. Use bins, expanding files and binder dividers with “reminder” flags to keep track of priorities. Flag items needing immediate attention—whether it’s homework or paperwork.

If children have busy schedules, make it easier for them to work on the go. Opt for binders with writing surfaces, internal storage pockets for loose paper and places to stash pens and pencils. And parents can do the same. Consider using binders and expanding files in the car to create a place for last-minute notes, papers and storage.

With a little planning and creativity, the whole family can prepare to stay organized throughout the school year.



Holyoke Enterprise Aug. 9, 2012