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Stay organized this September

Even if your child is not yet in school, you probably still get the “just-sharpened-my-pencil-crayons” feeling that September brings. It’s hard to avoid the back-to-school frenzy! I remember one year buying out the office supply store only to find my daughter’s Grade 3 teacher provided everything she needed. After 12 years of having kids in school, I’ve managed to reduce the end of summer spending from a full-on boil to a light simmer. First I make my kids do an inventory of what they have to avoid buying duplicates. Then I wait for a list from the teacher to avoid buying stuff my kids don’t really need. Here’s what I’ve found our family really needs come September:

  • A place for putting important papers. There will be several coming home for the first few weeks. Make this the year you stay on top of them!
  • A place where you’ve written and posted health card numbers for easy access. You will need them for the forms above. Try taping them to the inside of a cupboard door.
  • A list of school phone numbers, teachers’ names and contact info. Put them in your cell phone for convenience.
  • Bristol board. It’s 10 p.m. and your tween will tell you he has a project due the next day. You’ll thank me for having this one handy.
  • Craft supplies for home. I’m always looking for glue sticks, tape and scissors. You can’t have enough of this stuff.
  • A desktop filer. This is for the papers that you need to keep, such as report cards, eye tests, vaccination records, extra school photos. Set up one folder per child.
  • A place for doing homework. Does your child like spending time in her room? If she doesn’t, why bother setting a desk up there? Agree on an area at a table and put the supplies at the ready.
  • An agenda. If your child’s school doesn’t supply them, pick one up and teach your child to use it.
  • A stop watch or timer. Kids have no sense of time. Don’t use it to make them work faster, but to help them track how long homework takes so they can learn how to manage their time.
  • A portfolio for artwork worth keeping. Trust me, not all of it will be worth keeping. Think of how you can teach your child to avoid becoming a packrat!

Janice Biehn

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