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  Let's Plan an Awesome School Year!

For most of us school has already started back up. At the beginning of each school year there is a certain amount of stress involved. For example, there are added expenses and adjusting our routines, which all add up to more stress and anxiety. Our kids feel the pressure too, sometimes it's a new school, friendships are changing and transitioning and of course there is always the peer pressure that plagues nearly every student!

There are many things we have no control over, but as parents there are some things that we can control, or at the very least, manage.

Consider the list of tips below to help you during the coming school year and maybe, just maybe give yourself (and your student) a bit of breathing room:

1.  Get Bedroom Cleaned, Organized and in Order - This is a good time to go through every nook and cranny! When my kids were still at home we would literally take everything out of their bedrooms, except the large furniture, and give their room a thorough cleaning. We'd go though and get rid of old toys, old clothes and items they no longer needed or used. We'd donate and pass on items to those who could use them. When we were done their rooms would be clean, organized and their school supplies and clothes were ready to go - day one!

2.  Get Organized Before School Starts - As a family, discuss your evening/before bed and morning routine, including what needs to happen, by when, who is responsible for what and times you need to be on the road or to the bus. Below is a list of suggestions:
a.   Put out clothes the night before.  
b.   Have a paper station, where all documents that need signatures or parent attention are placed. A drawer in the kitchen is a good place, or a basket that goes near the front door. All papers go in to that drawer/basket and parents can check and/or ask about documents on a daily basis.
c.   Pack lunches the night before or have lunch money/card in backpack.  
d.   Have backpacks by the front door ready to go - make this area the backpack station.  
e.   Have a phone charging docking station for the family (no phones in bedrooms after bedtime), a kitchen counter is a great idea.
f.    If you have only one bathroom, decide who showers/bathes at night and who takes the morning schedule.
g.   Have a hair station! If you have members of your family that needs their hair done in the morning, have a place where detangler, brushes and accessories are kept. For younger children you may want to discuss hair styles the evening before so in the morning you can remind your child of their choice.
h.   Plan breakfast the night before. You may consider pre-making breakfast sandwiches/burritos and freezing them to take out the evening before and popping in the microwave in the morning; you can do the same thing with French toast and pancakes keep them in baggies and pop in the toaster in the AM.
3.  Plan for a Study Space - It's a great idea to have a place for homework and school projects. If you're on the go, have a "homework bag," simply a bag/box where you can put homework and projects to take with you when you're on the go.

4.  Have a Homework Planner/Tracker/Chart - For your older students encourage them to use our Homework Management Tool , for your younger students create a homework chart and tape it in a place that's easy for everyone to see.

5. Have a List of Staples - Whether its school supplies or lunch making supplies, keep a generic list of items that you use weekly and run-out of often. Keep the list on the fridge and when you're running low put a check mark next to that item. When you go to the store you'll be ready. Try a list App from your App Store. I like Wunderlist.

6. Limit Extracurricular Activities - Those after school and weekend activities are fun but when a student has too many activities she/he will become distracted and stressed with the overabundance of things they have on their plate to accomplish. Stress causes anxiety, which is often the beginning of failure in the classroom. I recommend no more than two extra activities per semester, one sport and one "other," activity is manageable for students AND parents.

I remember the crazy days of back to school with some fondness and some horror. You can avoid the CRAZY and back to school challenges by having a plan and working your plan. Every minute you spend organizing and planning before school starts will reap you the reward of less stress and enjoying the start of a new school year.

So...get busy the school bell is about to ring!     
Jeff & Katreena's   Anchor4
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