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VIA ORGANIZED HOME:

By Cynthia Ewer

Move over, summer–a new school year is coming! With the start of school, families face new organization challenges. School bells ring–and so do early-morning alarm clocks. Shorter autumn days bring a hectic round of sports, activities and events, and calendars fill with cryptic notes. Can the holidays be far behind? Get organized now for the best school year ever! Nothing calms school year chaos like Calendar Central: a centralized site for all family calendars and schedules. You’ll need a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs and volunteer work. Add specialized calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.

Ease the family into a school year schedule

The first day of school is no time for a drastic adjustment of household sleep schedules. Instead, ease children back into a school year routine gradually.During the last two weeks of summer, re-introduce a school year bedtime. Begin waking late sleepers earlier and earlier, closer to the hour they’ll need to rise when school begins.Don’t neglect mealtimes! Younger children, in particular, need to adapt to new meal routines before the school day demands it of them. Plan meals and snacks to accustom little ones to rituals of the school day before the school year begins.

Check before you shop

August is the second-biggest sales month for clothing retailers. Back to school clothing sales begin as early as July! Are you prepared to run the school clothes gauntlet? An informed shopper is a savvy shopper, so prepare before you shop.Take an afternoon and assess each child’s clothing needs. Empty drawers and closets of outgrown or worn-out clothing, and either store or donate the discards. Working with your child, clean and organize clothing storage before new garments are added–and cut down on school morning calls of “Mom! I don’t have any clean . . . . “Develop a wardrobe needs list for each child. Check for possible hand-me-downs from older siblings as you make your list. If you discuss the needs list and the family budget with your children before you shop, you’ll avoid in-the-store tantrums.Similarly, ask the school for classroom supply lists before shopping for school supplies. Do shop early! With back-to-school sales beginning in mid-July, tardy shoppers have a tough time locating needed supplies among September’s Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations.

Gather your papers

School entry may require documentation from immunization records to report cards from the previous school year.A little preparation can prevent frantic last-minute searches. Call your child’s school before registration day to find out what paperwork will be required–then find it! You won’t be sorry come registration day.

Take aim on morning madness

How are school mornings in your home? Crazed and chaotic, or calm and cheerful? Plan ahead to send your schoolchildren out the door in a happy mood.Each evening, think ahead to the following morning. Set the breakfast table as you clear the dinner dishes. Lay out children’s clothing the night before. Multi-child households may need a bathroom schedule so that everyone gets equal time before the mirror.

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