As much as we’d love to pull our beach blankets over our heads and pretend that summer is not actually going to end, we know the truth. We’re reaching the end of summer, and soon it will be time to go back to school.
Whether you’re homeschooling your kids or sending them off to school in the fall, here are seven ways to prepare your home for the new season ahead.
Clutter is an impediment to focus, peace, and well-being. Things can pile up fast: from papers to toys to knick-knacks, the stuff in our lives can easily transform from being a blessing to a burden if we don’t keep it in check.
Give back-to-school season that fresh-start feeling by kicking your clutter to the curb.
Assess Supplies and Gear
Once you’ve gotten rid of what you don’t need, you need to assess what you do need. Check school supply lists, determine if last year’s clothes and shoes still fit, determine whether a new lunchbox, backpack, water bottle, or other tool for school is needed. Make your list and get those items.
Set Up Stations
When life gets busy and things kick into high gear you want to set up your home so that it works for you. One way to do that is to set up stations.
To keep schedules on track and manage the inflow and outflow of papers, set up a central command station. This may include paper inboxes, a wall calendar, a bulletin board for reminders, a place to hold keys, backpacks and lunch boxes, and a clock.
To make packing lunches easy, set up a lunch station. Use separate bins for the different lunch items in the refrigerator and the pantry. Label the bins, and teach and encourage your children to pack their own lunches from the supplies in the bins. If you restock lunch items each week, lunch packing will be seamless all year long.
Similarly, you can set up a snack station. The transition from school to home is one of the most important of the day. Have healthy drinks and snacks at the ready that can be managed by the children when they get home.
How many times do you think you’ll ask your children if they brushed their teeth, have their shoes on, packed their homework, or made their bed? Rather than repeat yourself thousands of times over the course of the school year, print each child a morning and evening checklist and insert it into a dry-erase sleeve. Keep the checklist in your command center and have the kids check it off each day.
If your sleep schedules have become slightly erratic this summer, now is the time to start reining them in. The body’s rhythms help us perform at our peak when well regulated. Gradually begin to encourage earlier bedtimes and earlier wake times, aiming for regularity.
Focus on Reading
If reading hasn’t been a frequent activity this summer, stoke the flames a bit by embarking on reading-centered activities. Take the kids to the library or the bookstore. Forego television for an audiobook and some special snacks instead. Read to the kids at bedtime. Bring books to the pool or the beach. Enjoy reading.
Refresh those basic math facts with games or flashcards. Offer prizes to the kids who can solve challenging math problems. Have the kids solve math problems you encounter in your daily life—calculating the tip at the restaurant, measuring a room for a new piece of furniture, doubling a recipe, budgeting for groceries, or estimating travel time to get somewhere.