Reorganize the Mudroom, Porch, Entryway: In summer the entryway or mudroom may be where we stash beach and picnic supplies. Now it’s time to get ready for the autumn routine. Clear out the mudroom or entryway of the house, and set up a place for jackets, boots and shoes, back packs, lunch boxes, and other gear needed for school and fall activities.
Organize Meals and Mealtimes Kitchen/Dining Room: Clear off the dining room or kitchen table, and create a gathering space for members of the family to eat and share conversation together. Make menus for school/work lunches, afterschool snacks, and dinners. Post the menu, and set up supplies so that anyone in the family can put out snacks, help prepare meals, and fix lunches for the next day. Take some time to teach your children and grandchildren how to make sandwiches, and pack a healthy lunch for themselves and their brothers and sisters. Get everyone involved in preparing, sharing, and cleaning up from meals.
Set up a Communication Center-coordinate calendars and schedules: Create an area that includes a posted monthly calendar, schedule of everyone’s daily activities, and message area. Include a place for important papers that need to be signed or returned to school or afterschool caretakers. This is also a good place to keep keys, phones, phone messages, and pens and paper for leaving notes. Having a central location to post, leave, and find messages and schedules, helps avoid some of the miscommunication that takes place when there is no central point for communication.
Establish Regular Routines. Sleep patterns change as both the seasons and activities change. School routines started gradually the week prior to school starting, helps get our bodies ready for waking and going to bed earlier. Establish regular routines for both rising in the morning and getting ready for bed in the evening. These patterns stay with us our entire lives. Make time for quiet time at both ends of the day. Making a habit of reading something together in the mornings and evenings, doing a brief meditation, saying prayers, or writing in a daily diary can help establish some good habits. Making a list of five things to accomplish each day, and writing a list or talking about what you enjoyed most about the day at the end of the day, are both ways to encourage communication and self reflection. "All work and no play, make Johnny and Jan dull witted..." Make sure you plan some fun and unstructured time together. Avoid overplanning and exhausting yourself and everyone in the family with too many activities. Learn to use downtime, quiet time, and unstructured time to just be.
Plan ahead. Lay out clothes the night before, prepare lunches (albeit last minute items like hot soup or cold items that need refrigeration). Have one central place to keep items you plan on taking with you to school and work.
Make a routine of verbally going over your plans for the day and ask your children and grandchildren about how their day is planned. For example, “Your ballet class begins at 4:30, so I will be at the Community Center at 4:00 to pick you up. I will meet you in the play yard.” Let children know what your plans are as well, for example, “I will be in my office most of the day. I’ll go to lunch about 1:00, and I will pick you up at 3:00. We’ll go to the park right afterward.” Making a habit of communicating plans and sharing ideas, makes it much easier to expect older children to see this as part of being respectful and concerned about one another.
Stock Up: Watch for annual or monthly sales on school supplies, clothing, shoes, electronic equipment, and anything else you use to stock your home office or use for school. In mid-summer, most department and box stores like Staples have sales on school supplies. Target and Fred Meyers, for examples, carry spiral notebooks and boxes of crayons for less than 50 cents a piece. Department, retail, and online clothing stores also have regular sales.
Clean, Clear, and Organize Home Office/Desk. Make a point of using the transition point in the year to reorganize your own office, studio, and desk. Clear off the desk and work tables tops. Clear out items that need to be recycled, filed, or shredded. Restock your supplies (paper products, ink cartridges, pens, pencils are all on sale at this time of year). Set a 3-month calendar up to align with the plans of your family (longer if you you plan well in advance for activities like vacations or major events).
Update Paperwork, Emergency and Medical Information. Get your papers in order. Update emergency numbers, and make certain everyone in the family has the updated information. Update this information with schools, good friends, neighbors, or caretakers. Make annual appointments for regular check ups with the doctor, dentist, optometrist, and set up your fall exercise routine. Get the schedules for teams, exercise or classes your family is involved in. Update lists of medications anyone in the family is on, and where the prescriptions are refilled. Update insurance information, and make certain everyone in the family knows what information they need in case of emergencies. Go over emergencies plans as a family (what to do in case of fire, earthquake, or other emergency situation). Give your children and grandchildren the skills they need to handle themselves in case of emergencies. Take a family first aid class. Update your swimming skills, and make certain children know how to use the phone to call for assistance.