The School Year
Is Almost Here

Ah, the lazy days of summer. Lounging by the pool, soaking up the sun -- and definitely not worrying about schedules, homework and bedtimes. Before you know it, unfortunately, the start of the next school will be here. Even amid the slower summer pace, doing at least a little preparation for the coming school year can ease the transition for all of you -- and help you enjoy what is left of summer.

back-to-school

I'm not talking going out and buying notebooks and pencils preparation, I'm talking the bigger picture. You can get the school supplies any time -- but when it comes to thinking about how the family will transition to the new school year and how the family schedule will work, everyone will benefit from a bit of strategizing and planning. And it doesn't have to be onerous.

1Think back

First of all, now that you've had a little distance from it, think back to last school year. Think back to the start of school and what worked well and what didn't. Ask yourself some serious questions about activity levels and schedule juggling and did everyone get what they needed? Was the transition smooth? Or more than a little bumpy?

Think about the body of the school year. When did issues arise (if they did) and could they have been prevented? What parts of the school year were really wonderful? What would you like to see happen again, and what would you like to avoid? Prioritize the good stuff and brainstorm how to avoid repeating the not-so-good stuff. It's really easy to do under a beach umbrella, behind your sunglasses.

2Start thinking schedules

With all that in mind, start thinking about the coming year's school schedule. The school calendar is probably available and you can start identifying busier times of the school year, no school days and the like. You can also start filling in your family calendar with your prioritized activities and deadlines for signups and the like. Are there new activities you'd like to add? Some you'd like to eliminate? Put everything on the table so you can create a school year schedule that will really work for the whole family.

3Start making lists

There are surely some school-related things that need to happen before the school year starts. Medical forms and emergency contact cards and sports registrations, just to name a few. If you start making lists now, and start checking one or two things off the list each week, you won't be in a frenzy at the very end -- and you are less likely to have something important fall through the cracks. Just a few minutes a day of revisiting, revising and acting on your list can make a huge difference -- and the pool just might feel that much more relaxing.

4Make the most of what's left of summer

This early planning is not meant to put you in a panic. Not at all. It's meant to help you ease the transition to the school year so you can enjoy the rest of the summer and aren't cramming all this planning into the last few days before the first day of school. It may even help you prioritize summer activities (and non-activities) so you are sure you are making the most of this downtime from academics. Pass the iced tea, please.

More about preparing for the school year

Monday Mom Challenge: Preparing for back to school
Preparing kids for back to school
Preparing for the first school bus ride


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