6 Tips for a Great Back to School

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This blog was contributed by Jennifer Gervens. Jennifer is the author and owner of SweetTMakesThree.com.

Getting back into a routine after vacations and lazy summer days can be hard, and back-to-school can sneak up on you faster than you realize. With school comes the chaos of books and notebooks, homework, lunches, and everything else that can cause stress if you aren’t organized. Preparation can help save your sanity! Let’s look at a few tips for a great back-to-school for you and your kids.

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1. Involve the kids: Even though you as the parent will likely be doing most of the cleaning and organizing (particularly if your kids are in elementary school) including the kids can lessen your workload. Make a list of rules such as taking off shoes when entering the house, assign duties, and keep them responsible for their own rooms. These are great strategies to go ahead and implement over the summer!

2. Organize: Back to school is a perfect time to go through clothing putting away summer outfits, determining what still fits, and what can be thrown away. School supplies will also need to be sorted so you don’t wind up buying more than you need when the supply list from the school is given out. Check backpacks for wear and tear and if they have enough life in them for another school year, spot clean the outsides and wipe out the insides leaving them to air-dry.

3. Declutter: Let’s face it, back to school means a heck of a lot more stuff. If your house is already pretty crowded like mine, then taking the time to declutter is a good idea. Summer is yard sale season so now is the perfect time to clean out the clutter and get some cash for school supplies as a bonus!

4. Have a lunch prep method: Stress can be reduced on busy school mornings by picking a day once a week to make snacks and lunches in bulk. For example, if you want your kids to have fruits and veggies with their sandwich every day, then cut up enough to last for a week and store it in the fridge for quick packing. You can also prepare single servings of chips, pickles, etc. and place them in sandwich bags. With everything already prepped for them, the kids can easily assemble their own lunches in the morning if you need them to. Making the sandwiches or other main courses the night before can also save you a lot of time.

Plus, consider lunch bags with built-in protection against the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew that can cause stains and odors.  This added layer of Microban protection in soft sided lunch bags by Arctic Zone makes them easier to clean and keeps them cleaner between cleanings.

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5. Prepare homework stations: Especially if you have more than one child, giving them each their own work space can cut down on a lot of bickering and help them to concentrate better. Having a specific place for books, pens, pencils, and all those papers they bring home will keep their homework from getting mixed up with a sibling’s. We have a rule that backpacks stay closed until we are home. No opening them up in the car. This way homework and announcements from the school don’t get lost before I’ve even had a chance to look them over.

When you are setting up individual workspaces, you can look for cleaner school supplies and computer accessories for older kids.  Fellowes makes a complete line of computer accessories, including mouse pads and keyboards, with the added benefit of antimicrobial protection that works 24/7 to keep bacteria at bay on the surface of the products. Artistic also makes a desk pad with added protection, and Cosco stamps feature built-in antimicrobial technology.  These are products that don’t necessarily get cleaned frequently, making the extra layer of cleanliness protection a big win!

6. Create a backpack and shoe space: Chances are, the very first thing your kids do when they come home from school is kick off their shoes, and drop their backpack on the floor. Have hooks or a bin nearby for the backpacks to go, and place a mat next to the door for the shoes. If your kids have lunch boxes, then make sure they get into the habit of emptying them out every day when they come home, so you don’t get a smelly surprise when you go to fill it again.

There are a number of mats and flooring products that work great in spaces like this.  The foam flooring product made by Venture Products is a great option.  It comes in puzzle pieces, so it’s easy to customize the size to whatever space you have available, creating a great first stop for kids coming into the house with dirty shoes and backpacks. Plus the product is protected from the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew, so you can worry less about ending up with funky smells in your entryway!

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