Welcome to the first in a series of three articles to help you get ready to ship your darlings back into academia. August is calm before the storm time for most of us. Take advantage of this calm to do a little prep – because the September storm clouds are gathering.
Part 1 – Getting your Ducks in a Row:
Step 1: Medical
Make appointments now to get your kids physicals for school. Usually you need a form completed within the last year. Do you have a child who requires medicine at school? Check those prescriptions, make sure they are not expired and that you still have the original boxes with the prescription information on it.
Step 2: Get that Calendar Organized!
I don’t feel that it’s overly dramatic to say that an effective calendar can be the difference between waves of panic and islands of calm. Having an up-to-date calendar is an essential part of an organized life. It doesn’t matter if you use a digital calendar, a Filofax, or a wall calendar with puppies on it. Just use one. In this step, find your school’s official calendar and add all the dates to your own. Having these dates in place will take you ten minutes now and help you all year long. Nobody likes that unexpected “teacher work day” the week of your big work conference. While you’re at it, get your sports and activity schedules off their websites and add them too. If you are using a digital calendar, these schedules can usually be subscribed to and thus stay up-to-date automatically.
Step 3: Create the Family Command Center
With your calendar in place, it’s time to share it with the troops via a family command center. You don’t need a fancy system, a corkboard, some file pockets and a simple dry-erase or chalkboard will serve just fine. The cork will hold important notices from school, the pockets can be assigned to each child to hold papers that need to be saved, (“anybody seen my social studies study guide?!?”) and the board is for the family calendar. A big highly visible calendar that everyone can see is essential to a busy family life. Who’s got a project due this week? What time is basketball? When are we going away for the weekend? Who’s picking up Jim-Bo from debate team practice? Check out my Pinterest Board for some great sample command centers.
With your family calendar up to date, make time each weekend to go over it with everyone -- including the significant other who often throws you a curve ball like "oh did I forget to tell you I have a dinner meeting on the night you've got four sports pickups?" Empower your family to know the answers themselves, and liberate yourself from being the sole repository of information. Even little ones who don’t read yet can benefit from seeing a picture of what’s happening. It works for teachers, it will work for you. Start working with the calendar now for those pre-season practices and last minute summer outings – get everyone used to checking it out now in the easy going last days of summer.
Next Week: Preparing for the Paper Tsunami…