It’s that time of year again!  Summer has come to an end in the Valley and another school year has begun. Now that you’re into the fall schedule, and over the first two weeks, here are some tips I use at home.

If your busy household is anything like mine, back to school can mean frazzled, stressful days of preparation leading up to the first day, and then crazy, rushed mornings with the kids who are reluctant to get back into the daily grind of school.

Here are 5 helpful tips I use at my home with my 2nd grader and kindergartener to alleviate the chaos that often comes with back-to school preparations.

1. Beat the crowds at the stores by shopping for school supplies early in the morning when stores first open.  Or wait until just before the store closes.  Teachers often send home longs lists of required school supplies and if you go in the middle of the day when everyone else is shopping, you’ll be fighting over that last box of markers, and standing in long check out lines

2. Include the kids in choosing a few important school items but not all.  I suggest having a special shopping trip with the kids in which you allow them to pick out a new backpack, lunch box, and first day of school outfit.  Any other supplies needed are best to get when shopping without the kids. That helps eliminate battles over what the kids want to put in the cart and what the school supply list requires

3. Get organized the night before.  In my household, I have my 8 and 5 year old boys pick out their outfits and lay out their clothes and shoes for the next day.  Backpacks are packed and ready by the door.

4.Pack lunches the night before and plan breakfast for the next morning.  That way you are not scrambling eggs in a hurry while also trying to slap together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

5.Have a designated place in your home where everything goes.  Kids should know when they walk in the door after school where to hang their backpacks, put lunch boxes, set out homework, and so forth.  I have a bench by my front door with a cubby for shoes, a hook for back backs and then each child has a basket on the kitchen counter for important school papers and homework.
Organization is key for a stress-free school year.  Have a wonderful new school year!

Jenny Riojas

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