As July turns to August, the reality that summer won’t actually last forever begins to hit home. There’s both an urgent desire to make the most of the last weeks and the need to begin preparations for the upcoming fall season.
A little bit of preparation now can go a long way toward a smooth transition into a new school year and a busy fourth quarter.
Recall Your Priorities
Before you start shopping for school supplies and perusing the activities schedules, ground yourself and your family in your highest priorities. What do you most value? What is most important to you?
Perhaps it’s important to you that your children explore their most significant interests. Perhaps it’s important to you that your family engage in a spiritual practice. Perhaps a healthy lifestyle is a priority for you. Perhaps year-long travel is important to you. Perhaps increased time with extended family is a priority. Perhaps you have personal or career goals you aim to accomplish.
Before the agendas of others influence the way you spend your time make sure you are clear about what is most important to you and your family.
As you move forward, ensure your preparations are aligned with your priorities to avoid resentment and being overwhelmed.
Remember Last Year?
Take a moment to recall the previous school year. How did it go? What were your concerns? What were you excited about? Did your children’s extracurricular activities bring value? How well did you manage your family’s affairs? In light of your answers, what are your hopes for the year ahead?
Review Your Calendar
Taking your recollections from last year and your family’s highest priorities, consider your calendar. Before you begin signing up for after school activities, sports, and more, schedule your family’s biggest priorities first. If eating dinner together each night is important to you, schedule it. If free time for play is something you want to maintain for your children, schedule it. If you are working towards big goals or projects, schedule the time you’ll need to work on them before the rush of flyers and emails and fear of missing out hits your radar screen.
Summertime is such a great time to lighten the burden of stuff in your home. With your priorities in mind, purge (sell, donate, recycle) those things that are no longer serving your family. Straighten up and clear out the clutter to provide delightful breathing room for the season ahead.
While you’re at it, survey the school supplies, shoes, and clothing you already have. You’ll be a smarter shopper if you know what you actually need before coming face to face with the back to school in-store marketing temptations.
Set Up Central Command
Create a functional space in your home to house and utilize the many notices, forms, schedules, lists, and so on that need to be within arms reach of your family members. Make it a neat and attractive space you’ll enjoy interacting with throughout the school year.
If sleep schedules have gone off the rails this summer, now is the time to begin gradually reigning them in. Set reasonable bedtimes, slowly making them earlier and eventually reintroduce a wake-up routine.
Mull Over Meals
Mastering meal preparation is crucial when life gets busy. Try out healthy, nutritious breakfast options. Survey your children’s lunch preferences. Research make ahead dinners. Reintroduce yourself to your slow cooker.
Book Family Time
Don’t allow back to school to equate with the end of family fun. Book some family fun days, a weekend away, or even a vacation to look forward to in the new season. These sign posts on the calendar may be just the motivation your children will need when trudging through homework or experiencing the Monday blues.
Consider the Holidays
Call me crazy, but once the kids go back to school, it seems like Halloween is five minutes later and then, boom! It’s holiday time.
Begin to prepare financially and mentally for all that that entails. Put it on your radar early. Hey, maybe you’ll find that perfect Christmas gift for Mom while you’re Back to School shopping!