Tackling Back to School Night with an organized eye calms a busy Mom’s first day jitters like none other. First published in August 2011, this post is full of my best advice as you get your family, and yourself ready for back to school. Enjoy!
While we hang onto the last days of summer making the most of our time at the pool soaking up the sun, the reality of back to school night has arrived. Just a few days away and at 3 separate buildings, I’ve got my hands full to make sure we capture all the important information, meet more than a dozen teachers, and manage an avalanche of paperwork that is sure to come home.
In the unlikely case you get off track while socializing with old friends and meeting new teachers, here are a few tips to help you have an organized back to school night and to kick off the new school year just right:
1. Attend back to school night one on one. Divide and conquer with your partner and if you have to, bring in a sitter for younger kids who don’t have conflicting times. If you have conflicting times, see what kind of coverage you can get to give you equal time with each child, such as having the younger one out on the playground with Mom while Dad and child number one tackle their grade and then swap.
2. Remember to bring your calendar. Its the only way you’ll know your availability to commit your time and say yes. Think beyond the classroom for school wide activities that may need your help and as soon as you have it, add all school holidays and scheduled special events into your master calendar. This will help you protect that time as the year unfolds making sure time off from work for a field trip or class performance is requested and granted well in advance of the big day.
3. Bring a clipboard. This is a great way to travel light giving you a flat surface to sign forms with when faced with a crowded table and an easy way to store papers you may be collecting as you go. Each year I make a fresh round of DIY SCHOOL ORGANIZERS for each child so I can both stay connected and chronicle things as they unfold. Yes I bring them to back to school night and I always come home knowing exactly what I’ve done and still need to do.
4. Don’t for get your check book. From opening lunch accounts to buying agendas, a stop at the spirit wear table or a renewal for your PTA membership, back to school night will cost you money. Its worth it to tackle these little items onsite if you can making the most of being able to cover your bases all at once. Otherwise you’ll be sending back more forms than you care to count.
5. Be that volunteer. We collect box tops year round to hand in regularly and it requires absolutely no effort on my part at school. I simply have our children clip them as I put away the groceries and when our baggie is full, the kids take them in. More than ever your school needs your support in anyway you can provide it. Be that Mom and choose the things that are easiest for you to follow through on. You may be surprised at how many you find if you take a second look.
6. Extra Credit ~ bring a calling card. In some instances it may simply be easier to hand someone your family calling card. Think about having one with the basics like name, phone, cell phone, and email and when needed you can simply share it with ease. Bonus points? Make a small sheet of lablels with the same ~ now that’s an organized Mom!
With kids in every age group, these tips have carried me through our back to school nights with flying colors. I hope they help you kick things off generally well organized and exceptionally well loved. What are your back to school night challenges?
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