When we think about Back to School time, we always think “time to get the kids organized!” However, the truth is, if we ourselves are a disheveled mess, we won’t be much help in getting our kids organized will we?! Nor will we set a very good example for that matter. There are a few things we parents can do to make sure our own lives are in order before trying to tackle the kids’ organization, so here are a few helpful tips on getting yourself in shape to handle that dreaded back to school chaos with ease and grace.
1. Pre-Fall Cleaning/ Home Organizing
For some reason we always wait until things are back in full swing before we start going through our stationery drawers, file cabinets, closets, cupboards, garage and whatever other areas we clean out annually in our homes. When you really think about it, this is complete madness! By the time you’re back in full swing, you’ve got a million tasks to complete and things to organize, and this just adds stress, pressure and takes away precious time from other areas that need attention. Or worse yet- it gets put on the back burner and not done at all because we simply don’t have time, causing a vicious cycle moving forward and putting a wrench in our organization routine because the next year, we’ve got double the work to face. So do yourself a favour and clear a few days in your schedule in the last few weeks of summer to tackle your fall cleaning. Do it in mid to late August, before September, and get it out of the way before the real madness begins.
2. Mom & Dad’s OWN Pre- Back to School Shopping Trip
Most of us parents try to just kill two birds with one stone and squeeze in our own back to reality shopping with the kids’ big back to school shop. Well, it’s easy to get distracted with a bunch of kids pulling your arm and demanding your attention. It’s hard enough to stick to their list, let alone get to your own!
Now that you’ve done your cleaning, you should have a pretty good idea of what you need for the household this fall. Before you head out on the big “back to school” shopping trip with the kids, do a “Mom & Dad’s back to reality shopping trip” on your own. Again, this should probably happen sometime in the middle to end of August before those first couple hectic weeks of September. This way, your needs won’t be an afterthought, and you’ll remember all the crucial items that YOU yourself will need to stay organized this fall. Be sure your stationery drawer is stocked, keep a few notepads on hand in all the necessary places (your desk, your purse, and your bedside table) for lists and jotting down all those sneaky thoughts, ideas, and to do’s that flash in and out of your head.
3. Make a Monthly Calendar Before Each Month (Especially September!)
Just as you would for work, take all the upcoming events, activities, programs and tasks upcoming that are anxiously sitting in the back of your head and pour them all onto a calendar. This includes work events, social events, kids school and extra-curricular activities, playdates, doctor’s appointments, the whole kit and caboodle. Whether you’re tech-savvy and prefer this in digital form, or are like us and love a good old fashion hard copy calendar, put it all in one place. You’ll be shocked at how relieved you feel already now that you have one consolidated reference point!
4. Schedule Weekly “You Time.”
Now that you’ve got all of your obligations and events down in front of you, it will be much easier to organize your time! Often when we are disorganized it feels like we simply have no time for things like “me time” or “date night.” However, you will find that when well organized, we can always make the time! Me time is something to be valued, and may have a different meaning for every parent. Whether it’s spin class or yoga, reading a book in a cozy quiet corner, having a cocktail with your friends, or having a special night with your spouse, make sure to schedule a weekly “you time” for these personal pleasures that will keep you balanced and sane, even if you can only spare an hour. Everyone needs a break- especially parents!
Do all this before back to school season hits, and you’ll be laughing. Bring it on, September!