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Back to School: Tips, Tricks, & Checklists

Welcome Home! Rules for reentry for the School Season

Teach kids to hang their coats on pegs, take off their shoes, and unload their backpacks when they return home. Train them to empty their lunch boxes, leaving them in an appointed spot, and to put their folder of school papers in a designated in-box on the counter. As they get older, increase their responsibilities, having them separated their artwork, homework, and school papers and put them in their respective places (artwork on a tray or in a bin, homework on their desk, and school papers in Mom's in-box).

Sorting School Papers

Short Term

Set up a filing system in the kitchen for current school papers, or keep papers in a binder with tabbed dividers. Try a clear acrylic magnetic file holder or wall file sorter on the side of the refrigerator or inside a pantry door. Set up four files inside:

  1. Contact Lists. School contact numbers and classroom and team rosters.

  2. Schedules. School, sports, and afterschool activity schedules. (Don't forget to transfer dates to a family calendar, first!)

  3. Current Papers. All school announcements, including events, field trip information, fund-raisers, and newsletters. (Use one file for each child). Purge this folder frequently.

  4. To-Do. Forms to fill out, book orders, and anything requiring action.

When kids get home from school, treat their papers like mail, first sorting what's important from the junk, which gets thrown out. Important papers go straight from backpacks into the appropriate folders. The "to-do" folder is reviewed daily, and current papers are sorted through weekly. Use magnetic bulldog clip on the fridge to hold immediate "to-do" items like permission slips.

Long Term

Keep only what is truly important: report cards, awards, acknowledgments, and special projects. For each child, use a large (three inch) binder. Label the spine with the child's name. Delineate school years with dividers. Three-hole punch important papers and insert them into the binder.

Keeping Track of Schedules

Use one master calendar. A calendar in the kitchen with large squares can serve as a master calendar and communication device so that spouses and other caretakers stay informed about who's going where.

Shared digital calendars are the best for communicating ever-changing complex schedules between busy partners. This is what my family uses, and it is seriously a game changer!

Include on your calendar:

- School events

- Field trips

- Holidays

- Playdates

- Doctor appointments

- Lessons

- Sport schedules

everything else!


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