better homes and gardens | back to school 11
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Designate your shopping day. Pile everyone—
kids, lists, and all—into the car and hit the
stores. Get as much as you can in one day. Use a
smartphone barcode scanner app like RedLaser
to compare prices and find the best local deals,
3 WEEKS OUT:
work the planners
Mark up. Put that Mom Map up on a wall in the
kitchen, the front hallway, wherever you will all see
it. With colored markers, let each child take turns
writing in whatever dates and times for events
they already know (check both school websites and
whatever mailings you got from school over the
summer). Or get it all entered in your digital app.
Mark down. As soon as one kid is finished with the
calendar, have her write the same information down
in the schedule section of her brand-new planner.
Set aside a regular time every weekend for everyone
to update the big map and the planners or apps.
Schedule a reward. Let each family member pick
a time between now and the start of school for
a special end-of-summer outing of her choice: a
picnic, a day hike, or a movie. Then add it to your
schedules, of course.
2 WEEKS OUT:
clear the decks
Cleaning day. Assign a cleaning day and tackle
kids' rooms plus any school-related staging areas—
entry ways, garages, and homework zones.
School zone. Designate a “drop zone” for each
child, be it a special bin or a labeled section of the
front closet. This is where their school stuff—bags,
books, sports gear—goes the night before so they
aren't hunting for it in the morning.
Sort it out. Clean off one flat surface—a desk or
counter area—and set up a stack of paper trays for
each student in the house. Sort all the school mail
and start filing forms and paperwork into those
trays. This keeps permission slips and other crucial
documents from getting lost.
1 WEEK OUT:
do a dry run
New hours. Start
and morning wake-up. Expect that
and stumble through
this transition, but
you'll be better for it
Make a list together,
then go to the
grocery store for all lunch and snack fixings.
Practice. Practice your morning routine (especially
for younger kids) and get everyone in the habit of
putting things in their school zones at night.
Double-check. Have everyone check and update
schedules (including the Mom Map) and planners.
Recheck all school-supply lists and paper trays for
forms that need signing.