Summer is coming to an end, if you have kids and they’re going back to school, you’re home and life will do a complete transition in the next few weeks. Make the transition easier by making your home ready for back-to-school.
Even though we’re custom home builders in the Twin Cities, we also have kids in school and know how challenging this time of year can be. The home is the hub to a family’s busy schedule and there is actually quite a bit you can do to make your home ready for back-to-school and to make it an easy transition.
No doubt, if you’re like the rest of us, your schedule is probably a lot more flexible during the summertime. Bedtimes are later, kids sleep in, there aren’t as many activities to take the kids to and from. Meals are probably less formal and breakfast, and maybe even lunch, might have become optional. When school starts it’s back to the grind so to speak – bedtimes are enforced, everyone gets up earlier and breakfast options are readily available. Lunches are packed or chosen and of course there is homework and probably after school clubs and sports.
Going back to school is so much more than buying the items on the school supply list. Going back to school is a complete transition for the family. You can make the transition back to school much easier by preparing your home for back-to-school.
From creating a quiet study place in the home to preparing, cooking and packing meals in advance – you can make the back-to-school transition easier than ever. Follow these helpful suggestions to get your home ready for back-to-school.
Get Your Home Ready for Back-to-School
Now is a great time to start getting the kids accustomed to their school bedtime. Both older and younger kids will benefit from a full 8 hours of sleep, but it can be hard to adjust the time if they’ve been staying up late all summer long. As soon as possible start implementing an earlier bedtime so kids are used to it when it’s time to start school in September. A good idea is to restrict the use of electronic devices an hour before going to bed – it makes falling asleep easier. Let children read before bed to help relax them and get them ready to fall asleep when their heads hit the pillow.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, at least for school age children. Instead of feeding them pure sugar in the form of toaster pastries or cereal, make ahead egg bites like they serve at coffee houses that can be popped into the microwave for a quick on the go meal. Or, make a pitcher of smoothies using protein powder and seasonal fruit to keep them going until lunchtime.
Unless you’re lucky enough that your kids wear uniforms to school, the wardrobe is going to be something that needs attention. Kids grow a lot over the summer so have them go through their fall and winter clothes to see what fits and what does not. If clothes are in good shape and can be passed down to a younger sibling do that and make space for new clothing in the drawers. Make sure shoes and boots fit as well. Winter will be here faster than you think so make sure everyone has a coat that fits as well as mittens, gloves and hats, too.
Spruce up the study areas by having the kids clean out their desks, and declutter the work space. If it’s a shared workspace where they study make sure everyone has their own cubby to put pencils, paper, stickers, tape, and other necessary supplies. Have the kids decorate their area with framed pictures, printed motivational sayings or anything that puts them in the mood to study. Keep the area free from devices like cell phones, MP3 players or video games.
Keeping track of everyone’s activities and appointments is always a challenge this time of year. Suddenly everyone has so many appointments – doctor appointments, dental appointments, the orthodontist – and then there are the after school sports and play dates to keep track of too. The more kids the more activities to track. A white board in the mud room or kitchen is an easy way to keep track of appointments and so everyone can easily access the information. If the kids have cell phones you can also use a shared calendar that sends a text message reminder about the upcoming appointment. There is no right or wrong way to keep track of everything, but it does need to be consistent and easy to use. If you use a whiteboard let the kids create the calendar each month – it gets them involved and they’re likely to remember the events better if they have to write them down.
KonMari the Bedroom
The end of summer is a great time to have the kids KonMari their bedrooms. KonMari is the practice of decluttering by letting go of the things that no longer bring you joy. It can also be letting go of the things that no longer fit or are in fashion. Have the kids go through their room – toys, clothing, shoes, books, etc.. and determine what they need to keep and what can be let go (be sure to donate usable items). A decluttered space is so much easier to study in, sleep in and daydream in. After decluttering your kids will have a space that doesn’t overwhelm when it gets messy and you won’t have to clean it up.
If you have older children you can assign them laundry duty to make sure everyone has clean clothes for school each week. Assign each child a task such as collecting the dirty clothes, washing, drying, folding and putting away. Tasks can rotate so everyone learns and masters the task. This is a great opportunity to teach life skills.
These are just a few tips to get your home ready for back-to-school. Fall is an exciting time, but it is also a very hectic and busy time when everyone’s schedule gets upended and rewritten. Expect that mistakes will be made – lunches well be forgotten and homework won’t always get home. Expect a two week transition time for everyone to become accustomed to the new schedule and don’t forget to be flexible. If something doesn’t work, it’s okay to rethink and restructure your calendar.