Back To School Season: It's Not Just For Kids

By Stefanie Neyland

When we think of ‘Back to School’, what’s the first thing that invariably springs to mind? The answer is, of course, kids.

The back-to-school season is all about children, and often we forget to consider the other group of people for whom September means frantic shopping trips and hours of last-minute organizing―the parents.

Every mom or dad―as I’m sure they will attest―begins with the best intentions. All summer long, they make big plans and dream up great ideas to get a head start on the back-to-school rush. But does it happen? Probably not... And according to Bill Bliesath, founder of The Organizing Guy, the problem lies with timing.

“Too often, we get wrapped up in the fun of summer and put off getting ready for back to school,” he explains, adding that we also forget about the things we thought of at the end of the previous school year that we wanted to buy and do for the next.

But fear not, as 2013 is the year to get organized. This week, we share four top tips on how Canadian parents can get set for the impending back to school season.

1. Operation Readjustment
Summer comes with its own set of routines, so come September, there’s a lot of readjustment that needs to take place―and the trick is to plan ahead. Familiarize your kids with their schedules for the upcoming year nice and early, sign up for after-school activities in advance, and start to reestablish term-time hours before the new semester begins.

2. Create a Master Calendar
Start by creating a master calendar for everyone in your household’s activities―both at home and away. Keep it in the kitchen where everyone can see, and update as required. Also ensure that you find a calendar that has enough space for each day’s activities and assignments, like this one. You can also make use of free web services such as Google Calendar to create a comprehensive schedule that’s colour-coded for each family member. The benefit of using Google Calendar is that the events can be shared and accessed across multiple devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.), ensuring you never miss a beat.

3. Establish a Routine
Put an end to early morning chaos by establishing daily and weekly rituals for both you and your kids. Begin by making packed lunches the night before or by laying out the next day’s clothes, and do a few test drills before school starts. If you want to be super organized, consider keeping an inventory of school supplies and update it on a weekly basis as part of your new term-time routine—not only will it give you added peace of mind, but it’ll also eliminate the need for those last-minute Staples runs when that all-important project is due first thing the next morning.

4. It’s All About Labelling
Clearly labeled school supplies reduce arguments and make cleaning up faster and easier—all you need is a handy label maker. Label all your kids’ belongings that they’re likely to bring along with them to school (think pencil cases, lunch boxes, sports gear, backpacks, etc.) to avoid confusion. And while you’re at it, it can also be a useful exercise to label items within your household—such as chargers, cables, tablets and clothing—to nip any potential sibling brawls in the bud.

Getting organized before the kids go back to school cuts down on stress levels for the entire family and sets a valuable example for your children. Kids and parents today lead busier lives than ever, and there simply isn’t time to be disorganized. Consider putting some of these ideas into action this month to get the new school year off to a great start!

By Andrew Patricio

August 14, 2013