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Simple Steps to Organizing Your Family When the School Year Starts

Calendar of activities

By Nikol Hasler

Sunday Game Plan

With the start of the school year everything gets a lot more hectic and you have a lot less time to manage it. You can easily hit Wednesday morning, realize you ran out of peanut butter, your kids are out of clean clothes, and someone had some major at home project they were supposed to complete that they forgot to mention.

While every family is going to have a different schedule, and Sundays won’t always be your free day, there are some things you can do to help organize your week. The time you put in to creating a system and following up on that system will go a long way toward giving you peace of mind and less hectic days during the week.

CREATE:
Purchase a large dry erase board and a dry erase calendar to put near the door. Put all important phone numbers at the top of the board and create sections for

Upcoming Projects: This is a place to list any major projects your child is working on for school. At the start of the year you can ask your child’s teacher if they have a list of these already. If not, check your child’s assignment notebook regularly.

  • Field Trips: Again, if your child’s teacher already knows when field trips will be happening throughout the year, you can list all of them. Make a note of any cost of the trip and if you will need to send a lunch or provide your child with money for a meal.
  • Grocery List: As you run out of items in the house, add them to the board. Encourage your children to add the things they use when they are making snacks or meals on their own.
  • Needs: Keep track of household items, clothing, or replacement items for the things that inevitably get lost like lunch bags, and mittens.
  • Wants: To make the board less of a downer, use this area to put the things you wish you could have. Let your children add items and make it as silly (private jet) or practical (iPod mini) as you want. This can also be a big help when holidays come around.
  • Communication: Use this space to leave notes for each other. Sometimes you think of things when the kids are at school, or they think of things when you are at work.
    With the dry erase calendar you can keep track of your work schedule, their activities, days off of school, and appointments. If you all have a lot going on, you can get a calendar for each person in the house. It can be fun for the kids if they all have a special color dry erase marker.

SCHEDULE:
While you may be one of the many who has a schedule that varies, if you dedicate one day a week to getting the major maintenance done, it is less likely that you will forget to do it. Depending on your personal style, you may want to schedule everything for one day or choose to take care of different things on different days so it isn’t so overwhelming.
    Major weekly tasks:

  • Laundry: It’s a great idea to get the kids involved in helping with the laundry, not only to take the burden off of you but to teach them a skill that everyone needs for the rest of their lives. And don’t forget the socks! Seems those are the easiest things to run out of.
  • Shopping: When your children are very young, and especially if you have more than one, taking them with you to the store can be a real challenge. If you are able to find a family member or friend to stay with them, your shopping will be a lot smoother and you won’t end up with so many impulse items. However, as they get older, you should start to bring them along with you. See our article Smart Shoppers for tips.
  • Appointments: Scheduling appointments and remembering appointments you’ve already scheduled can be difficult. One your game plan day, take inventory of all of the appointments you have coming up so you don’t miss any.
  • Transportation: With all that goes on, keeping track of who goes where is a handful. Then factor in how to get there.  Once a week examine who goes where and look for any potential schedule conflicts, working out an alternative for things like who will pick up your child or how your child needs to get to events or activities.Keeping your family organized is a wonderful way of keeping up with what your kids are doing and of setting your mind at ease throughout the week that everything is taken care of properly. While it may take some effort initially getting into the practice, the pay off will happen fairly quickly.

Keeping your family organized is a wonderful way of keeping up with what your kids are doing and of setting your mind at ease throughout the week that everything is taken care of properly. While it may take effort initially getting into the practice, the pay off will happen fairly quickly.

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