Remember September? Back when the school year was shiny and new and held so much promise? Yeah, me neither. Who cares about March Madness? It has nothing on May Madness if you are a teacher or a parent. The beginning of summer sports, the field trips and field days, the permission slips and graduations and spring programs and end of year festivities…sometimes it feels like we’re limping across the finish line.
As we close out this chapter, maybe you are making New (School) Year Resolutions about how next year will be different. I don’t know about you, but I like driving the train—not being run over by it! Here are some things to work on over the summer to get organized and ready for a fresh start.
Develop systems that will help your kids keep it all together. My older son has a problem with organization. When he was a kid, it always looked like a science project exploded in his bedroom. His backpack was where old papers went to die. He lost everything. And when he found that important paper we were searching for, it had been folded into an airplane or crumpled into a ball. Maybe you have a kid like that as well? You can’t actually rewire their brains, but you can develop some strategies that will help. Years ago I read the book, The Organized Student: Teaching Children the Skills for Success in School and Beyond by Donna Goldberg, and found some really great tools to help him stay in better control of his school life. I highly recommend it if this is an area where you are struggling.
A great asset for your whole household is a blog written by my friend who is a professional organizer. Follow her online at www.organizedbyolive.com. She is practical, gentle, and encouraging and will help you make simple changes that will transform your home. Check out her schedule and try to go to one of her live events to hear her wisdom firsthand. I promise that you’ll leave inspired! (And if you need someone to come to your house for a hands-on session, she’s your girl!)
Another thing you can do is to concentrate on these summer months to train your little people. Get them on board with starting and ending the next school year strong. If your kids need a little remediation in taking care of their own stuff, start working on those skills now. In a lot of cases, they just have too many things to keep track of and they need to reduce the clutter. I will guarantee you that a room that is overly full will not stay clean. Less to manage means less to clean. Also, keep things with lots of pieces (I’m looking at you, Lego bricks) in a place where they have to ask to get them down and then only get them down when the other toys are put away. Legos mixed with Barbie shoes and accessories is a sorting nightmare!
Finally, take a look at your schedule. Just like a playroom with too many toys, a calendar that has too many events makes a life that is unmanageable. Do your kids play every sport and participate in 15 different enrichment classes and activities? It might be time to pare that schedule down. Right now, some of you are saying, “No way! My kids need all of these things to make them well rounded and help them get into the right college.” As a mom of two college graduates, I can tell you that just isn’t true. The time you gain as a family, the homework that doesn’t suffer because you’ve been running from one practice to the next, and the down time you’ll recover from trimming the fat off the calendar is so worth it.
As for the next few weeks—drink a cup of coffee and let’s do this! The light at the end of the tunnel of 2017-2018 is getting brighter! And maybe, if you do a little planning, next spring will be less chaotic. That’s what we’ll tell ourselves at least.
Hi! I'm Janet and I've been the Director of the Before and After School and Smart Start Preschool Programs at the Troy Rec since 1994. My hubby and I have been married 30 years and we have two grown sons. Each of them is married and blessing us with grandchildren left and right. Life is good even when the nest is empty!