by Rachel Webb
Soon our homes will be filled with the sounds of “Mom, where is my homework?” As moms everywhere get geared up to battle the Back to School stress and vow once again to be more organized This year, let me offer some preventative medicine and time saving tips.
1. Mark the Stuff! Put your child’s name on the back of everything…most of you probably figured this one out and already mark the backpack, books & jackets but what about their shoes? Last year my 7 year old daughter wore 4 different pairs of shoes home that were not hers and couldn’t figure out why they didn’t fit right! I gave up trying to figure out how that could possibly happen and just started writing her name on the bottom of the shoes!
2. Notes from Home. A friend of mine who is an elementary school secretary, spends most of her morning sorting through a “ga-zillion” unmarked notes and wads of lunch money. She suggests that before the school year starts, pre-mark envelopes with your child’s name and grade on it. You may want to get a rubber stamp made up or order personalized address labels. You can use them for lunch money envelopes, identifying books, returning fieldtrip permission slip’s, etc.
3. Photocopy Parental Release Forms. How many times are you going to fill out the emergency medical form, you know, the one required by every school. One for every child. I have 4 children x 13 years of school = 52 times! What a waste of time! This tip was shared by Anita from Ohio she pointed out that It can be very tedious looking up address and phone number of the doctor, dentist, hospital, family friend to call in an emergency, etc. Do it once, and file photocopy’s on hand for the next year.
4. Magnetic Fridge Calendar. As the kids bring home a note about an event, transfer the information to a Fridge Calendar where everyone in the household can see planned activities and that is easy to write-on/wipe-off. Last year I wanted one that included a notes area that would match my kitchen so I made my own. Calendars should be made entirely of flexible magnetic material so it won’t slide off when the kids slam the fridge door!
5. Pre-Pick Daily Clothes. 90% of our school morning battles take place regarding what to wear. Laying out clothes the night before helps, but if that hasn’t solved your problem try this idea from Tandy a mom of four. She bought a 5 compartment sweater hanger for the closet and helps the child choose the wardrobe for the whole week. Even socks and underwear get put in each days “cubby” Sunday Afternoon. Ok Moms, that creates your deadline for getting the laundry all caught up!
6. File System for School Papers. In preparing for the multitude of papers your kids will be bringing home keep a three tired wire basket by their bedroom door, or your kitchen counter. Teach your kids basic organizational skills by having them sort through their own backpacks and put papers that need “To Be Signed” by mom in the top basket, Another basket is for “Important Stuff Mom Needs” (PTA info., fund-raisers, school policies, etc.) and a basket for “Art & Awards” to be used as scrapbooking ideas and keepers. One mom has a Rule for the top basket, if it’s not in the top basket by bedtime, it doesn’t get signed that night. This eliminates the last minute papers waving in moms face as you rush out the door and gives you a chance to actually READ what you are signing!