Okay, the time is here, summer is still in full heat, yet everyone is scrambling to get ready for a new school year. Most people who are not parents may not understand what a huge undertaking it can be to get everything organized to get a family into a new routine or new school year.
First of all, it can be very expensive, but in addition, some times doctor appointments are necessary, as vaccines are frequently required for first graders, and middle-schoolers. If we add to that annual well child exams, dental appointments, and end of summer sports activities, not to mention a mom's career or work outside the home, well... you better be organized!
The 30+ years of parenting have left an indelible mark on this author, and the last two teens that remain at home have a much more experienced (and tired) mother. Never-the-less, organization has become a specialty this mom can not live without.
Here are some tips that might help make the beginning of the year a little smoother.
If you are shopping for multiple children, try to take one child at a time, while the others stay with the other parent, a friend, or relative. Planning a specific allotment of time, usually about 3 hours, may seem like a big investment of time, but not only can you squeeze four kids in one weekend, you will also have less to worry about with other children becoming impatient or tired, which makes everyone anxious about the whole experience. Additionally, the individual attention, specially with middle-schoolers and high-schoolers, will serve as an opportune time to understand their tastes, and open up opportunities for conversation.
It may seem like you want to get it done while you are out, but teachers actually prefer children come to school prepared with paper and pencils only, and then they can give them the supply list. This will also allow you to see which items children can share at home, and which will be required for individual grades or classes. It also avoids buying things that for some reason will not be necessary that year. Doing it this way is sure to save you money.
Make sure to call the school ahead and find out if that year your child will require any specific vaccinations. Getting in to see the pediatrician at the beginning of the year can be pretty difficult. Additionally, stock up on vitamins now, before the cold season begins. Ensuring your kids get an adequate breakfast and a multi-vitamin a day will help them fair much better with the beginning of year school viruses.
Many families like to post a large wall calendar somewhere in the home, like a kitchen or office, to jot down special events, school activities, sports activities, and doctor appointments. This is a great idea, but in the age of smart phones, it might be helpful to start the kids on using an online calendar, which is free, and accessible at any time. Some parents like to use a combination of smartphone/online calendars and desk planners. Desk planners offer parents working outside the home the ease of carrying it with them, and allows them to quickly jot down changes, then later upload everything to an online calendar.
Do as much as you can in advance, even plan birthday parties a few months in advance. Services such as Oh Sugah Sugah allow families to pre-pay birthday cakes as far as 6 months in advance and will deliver to your door a birthday package that includes cake, party favors, hats, paper plates, etc. (Local only).