Tag Archives: 2014

December 2014 – Helpful Websites

This isn’t a long post as it is Christmas Eve, but I did want to share some helpful websites that I’ve found over the past month or so.  Now, many people are familiar with these already, but hopefully you’ll find something on this list that is helpful and new to you :-).  If you have suggestions for a list like this in January, please feel free to comment!  I’ll check out your recommendations over the next couple of weeks.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and happy holidays to those who do not.  I hope you all have a wonderful new year!

(I would also like to add that I am not getting paid or reimbursed in any way for any of these recommendations.  They are my own honest thoughts on these websites.  Your mileage may vary.)

  1. DIY Planner – this site is  an awesome source for planners.  They have different categories (such as Psychology, Reference and Time Management).  And SO many choices…if you can’t find something here, well, there’s no hope for it – you will truly have to do it yourself!
  2. Stone Soup For Five – I can’t remember how I found this one, but I think I was searching for information on bullet journals.  I love all things journals and journaling.  At any rate, that’s a good reason to check this blog out.  It is religious, is the “home of the Personal Legacy Bible Study Series”, and has a store.
  3. Yourtango.com – this is an interesting romance-advice-blog site.  It has sections on men, dating, couplehood, sex, and breakups, among others.  I recommend taking a little while to take a look at it.  I found some helpful information here on renewing my relationship with my husband.
  4. BlogLovin’ – This is an interesting way to keep up with multiple blogs.  Apparently, you can add ANY blog that you want to follow and keep up with all of the blogs in one place.  The appearance reminds me of Pinterest, with different posts appearing on one page.  I just thing this is a great idea.  You can also click to Find Blogs, Explore,  and just keep up with what’s hot at the moment.  You can sign up with email or with Facebook.
  5. On a completely different note, the American Psychological Association website has a lot of information on it that I think is valuable.  There are topics such as depression, ethics, learning and memory, race and stress, as well as links for Continuing Education, Divisions, Finding a Psychologist, and PsyCareers.
  6. Good Housekeeping Product Reviews – excellent source of information on many products that they test every year.  There are categories such as Beauty & Makeup, Appliances, Cars & Travel Products, and Health & Fitness.  They also feature “Recently Tested”, and seasonal items like “The Best Wines to Go With the Bird” and “Toy Awards: The Best Picks for 2014”.

Well, I think that is about it for today.  It is probably about it for the year as well.  Life will be pretty busy between now and the end of the year.  I wish anyone reading this all the best in 2015.

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52 Ways to Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever

  1. Set goals, not resolutions – or at the very least, combine the two.  It is great to resolve to lose weight, but in order to actually accomplish that, you need GOALS.
  2. Make self-care a big part of your life.  It is important enough to SCHEDULE it.
  3. Be present.  Don’t wish away your time.  Focus on where you are, WHEN you are.
  4. Be grateful.  Look around you and appreciate what you DO have.  Say thank you to people who help you or show appreciation.
  5. Resolve personal issues as soon as you can.  Give yourself a fresh start for the new year.
  6. Is there something that you are passionate about?  Get involved!  Find your cause and take part in whatever way suits you – letter writing, taking part in a walk, etc.
  7. Keep your promises both to yourself and others.
  8. Don’t compare yourself, your life, your possessions, or anything else to others.  You will be much happier, and you don’t gain anything from the comparisons.
  9. Replace a bad habit with a good habit.
  10. Take action.  Do something today to move yourself closer to your goals.  Take another action tomorrow…and the day after that.  Make it a habit to take small steps toward your goals daily.
  11. Do 30-day challenges.  Set a challenge once a month – 30 days of gratitude, 30 days of exercise, 30 days of frugality, 30 days of self-care…and see what a difference each makes in your life.
  12. Spend time alone to focus on your goals, your dreams, and what you REALLY want.  Keep a notebook of ideas, goals, etc.
  13. Develop a theme for the new year.  I used “Soar like an eagle” for 2014 and used it to motivate me to try harder and to stretch myself.
  14. Let go of things or people that drain you.  If it isn’t helping you, it is probably hindering.  Look at the people around you – are they supportive or are they negative?
  15. If you feel overwhelmed,  take a step back, say no to new obligations, and take care of yourself.    You will feel better after a rest and be more productive.
  16. Plan date nights – with your significant other or even yourself.  Try something new and different that you both have an interest in, or something that you’ve always wanted to do.  Do this at least once a month.
  17. Simplify.  Clean out a drawer, a closet, a room once a month or so.  If you haven’t touched something in six months, ask yourself if you really need it or if you can find another if you DO need it later.
  18. Take care of the world around you as well.  Recycle.  Reuse, where possible.  Donate gently used clothing.  Use lightbulbs that are longer lasting.  Use green cleaning materials to clean your house.
  19. Get up earlier.  Even if it is just 15-20 minutes, it should give you a little time to sit and enjoy your coffee, read an article, or write in your journal.
  20. Take a walk in the rain.  It can be very invigorating, romantic, and sensual.
  21. Enjoy a three course meal.  Do this by finding three friends, or couples, and having each bring a course.  Ok, yes, you should count yourself, so either have two friends or have a four course meal…LOL.  There you go – a large, extravagant meal without you having to do ALL of the cooking!  Fancy!
  22. Be a Bookcrosser (check out Bookcrossing.com).  Register one of your favorite books with Bookcrossing, write its number in the cover, then leave it in the wild for someone to find.
  23. Celebrate your accomplishments!  When you achieve a goal, CELEBRATE!  Make a big deal.  There is nothing like positive reinforcement 😀
  24. Forgive.  Forgive those who hurt you – but remember enough not to let it happen again.  I am not saying to forget what was done to you, but forgive for your own mental and emotional health.
  25. Stop being excessively nice.  When someone hurts your feelings, say so.  Mind you, you can do so nicely, but stand up for yourself.
  26. Ignore the Joneses.  Focusing on what others have does nothing to make our lives better.  In fact, it can dull the shine on our own lives.  Appreciate what you have and ignore the Jones’;  what they have isn’t your concern.
  27. Visit one new place a month!  Expand your horizons!  Look around the area in which you live; you might be surprised at how much there is to do.
  28. Try a new cuisine.  Talk to friends and get recommendations.  Read the restaurant reviews in your local paper.
  29. Join a book club.  Talk to friends about what you are reading, and ask about things they like to read.
  30. Learn a new hobby.
  31. Develop a meditation and breathing routine.
  32. Make a list of activities that you enjoy and do one per month – or more, if money and time permit!
  33. Keep a gratitude journal.  List 5 things every day.
  34. Keep a journal – even if just a line or two whenever you feel like it.  Explore different kinds of journals – one line a day, work, travel, reading…there are a ton of ways to keep a journal.
  35. Plant something.  Work in the dirt – it is a great way to relieve stress and ground yourself.
  36. Cut back on communications.  You don’t really, REALLY need to be texting in the bathroom, the car, while in the checkout line at the grocery store.  Try checking your email once a day, not as soon as you get a notification.
  37. Purge your stuff.  Donate, throw away, clean out things that you no longer use, haven’t touched in six months or more, or can no longer use.
  38. Take a deep breathe, leave yourself more time to get to work, and drive slower.  Racing through traffic can be stressful.  Make sure you don’t need to and you may actually enjoy your day more.
  39. Cut activities that no longer serve a purpose, or that complicate your life unnecessarily.  Free that time up to use doing things you truly enjoy, or to spend with family and friends.
  40. Get your finances in order.
  41. Accept your current circumstances, limitations, strengths, and weaknesses.  Acceptance will help ease stress and anxiety and allow you to move forward and make changes to improve things where improvements need to be made.  Accept that you will be making changes to your life gradually; much like losing weight, making changes gradually will make them more likely to stick.
  42. Get out into nature.  Literally stop and smell the roses.  Look at local natural wonders – waterfalls, beaches, mountains, streams, deserts all have their beauty.
  43. Pay attention to why you back away from something that originally really excited you.  Frequently it is fear.  Facing that fear and dealing with it may help you move forward with things that will change your life.
  44. If something isn’t working in your life, don’t wait for someone to come along and fix it.  Make a change yourself.  Give up complaining – and take action.
  45. Learn a new language.  The process of learning a new language and becoming familiar with a different culture can change you and your outlook.
  46. Start a life handbook.  My concept of this is that it contains tips on self-improvement, quotes that mean something to me, life lessons, and ideas.  It could even include dreams, goals, and more.
  47. Learn something new every day – a word, a fact, how to do something.  Look for lessons everywhere.
  48. Spend quality time with loved ones and friends.  Sounds so simple, but when you are with them really focus on them.  Interestingly enough, what you give, you will get back.  If you truly pay attention to others, more than likely they will respond.
  49. Give up gossip.  It is negative and will bring you down.  Focus on the positives instead.  Your outlook will think you for it!
  50. Remember that change can be good.  It can be scary but some changes are good.  Write down positive changes and focus on those when you are worried about upcoming changes.
  51. Try yoga.   Good for mind and body!
  52. Clean your desk and room – and keep them that way.  This will help you focus and will also reduce stress; clutter is, believe it or not, a source of stress.

And that is my list of 52 steps.  I hope it helps, and I hope that you enjoyed it!  If you have additions for a future list, please feel free to comment!

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Self-Care (for Sanity’s Sake) Through the Holidays

The holidays are here, whether we are ready or not.  It seems like the year just started, but it is almost over.  The holidays, while they can be wonderful, are tremendously stressful.  Don’t let them be – there are things that you can do to put the joy back in the holidays and keep your sanity.

 

NOTE: I also want to say at the outset that if you suffer from depression, please talk to someone – a friend, a family member, a coworker, or anyone that you trust.

 

  • Eat healthy meals before going to parties.
  • Moderate your caffeine and alcohol intake – too much of either will leave you feeling bad later, and also dehydrate you.
  • Get enough sleep.  Go to bed earlier than normal at least once a week.
  • Evaluate any “obligations” that you are facing.  Just because you have done something in the past doesn’t mean you have to continue.
  • Family can be stressful.  It is important to spend time with people that you ENJOY, family or not.  Also, recognize that old patterns reappear under stress, so be aware of that in interactions with family.
  • Say “No” – and mean it.  Remember that NO can  be a complete sentence – you don’t have to explain.
  • Take short breaks to fit in a walk or other forms of exercise.  Not only will it help with possible weight gain over the holiday, it is an excellent stress reliever.
  • Watch how much you spend, to avoid making the start of the new year a more stressful one.
  • Make sure your routine stays the same, or as close as possible.  Keeping a regular routine makes rest/sleep easier, and also helps keep you in balance.
  • If you have stress management techniques that you use in other circumstances, pull them out and use them. Find what works for you and stick with it!
  • Prioritize.  Look at your activities and do what is most important to you.  Don’t worry if less important things don’t get done.
  • Take a time out for yourself – away from noise, stimulation, and things that need to be done.  They will still be there in five, ten, fifteen minutes.
  • Relax and be present in the moment – not worrying about the future, not worrying about what happened in the past.  Enjoy the family around you.  Enjoy the smells of the holiday.  Enjoy the sounds of the holiday.
  • Simplify.  Cut your to-do list in half.  Send fewer cards.  Exchange fewer gifts.  Say NO to a few occasions.
  • Stay flexible; things can change at the drop of a hat so be ready to change.
  • If you have too much to do, delegate.  Ask for help from those around you.  You do the best you can; remember that.
  • Don’t bake six types of cookies if two will do!
  • Laugh.  Hang on to your sense of humor and take care of it.  Look for the funny in life – there is plenty of it out there.  Find some funny websites and look at them first thing in the morning, or any time you need a giggle.
  • Let go of the “ideal” Christmas and enjoy the one around you.
  • Do non-materialistic things with friends and family.
  • Be aware of your breaking point and step back before you reach it.  Step away and take a break.  Avoid those things that push you close to your breaking point, even if it is family.  There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Chose your battles; ask yourself, “Is this worth a fight?”
  • Keep expectations realistic.  Don’t look for a Brady Bunch Christmas if your family tends to be more boisterous.

If you get stressed, stop and ask yourself, “Is it worth this?  Am I doing this to myself?  Is there something that I can do to make this fun again?”

 

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10 Good Sites for Thanksgiving Information, Ideas, and General Sanity-Saving Tips

Garfield-Holidays

A Great Thanksgiving Planner

This planner starts with a two weeks before and breaks down various tasks that should be completed within each time frame: one week before, the Monday before, and so on.  It is enormously helpful even if you aren’t quite that…organized.  I know my own weaknesses and I know that I won’t do all of these things, but I still admire the detail.  I highly recommend taking a look – I think it could inspire you to make your own planner.

Mary Organizes Thanksgiving Planner

This is a very nice blank printable that you can fill out yourself.  The blog entry describes the intention of each section and is very helpful. It has sections for each course of a meal, area for shopping list of things you can buy a head, one for perishables to get the day before, and so on.

Cat Christmas

Holiday 7-Week Planner

This lovely list will help you spread the tasks surrounding both/all of the holidays out a bit so that you can actually catch your breath and spend some time with family!  What a concept!

Need to know how much to make for Thanksgiving?

That is a great printable for you, if you are in doubt as to how much food you need for your crowd.

A Girl and A Glue Gun has some terrific ideas listed – with credit given to other locations that she found some of the crafts.  One of the cutest is “Roll a Turkey” – you roll dice and for each number, draw a specific part of the turkey.  Kids should LOVE this one!

Buzzfeed is quite a source of fun, merriment, and…who knew, Thanksgiving tips.  Here is a fantastic list of 17 Life-Saving Thanksgiving Tips.    I had never seen a number of these and think they sound like they would make a big difference.

Car Hacks, Tricks, and Tips provides all of the above for those families traveling by car over the holidays.  Some of these ideas (like silicone cupcake molds in drink holders to make cleaning easier) are all-season and things that I had never thought of; I highly recommend taking a look at the list.

Erin, from My Frugal Home, has a very handy list of how long specific Thanksgiving leftovers stay good.  That is enormously helpful.  I’m going to go print my copy now and put it on the refrigerator!

Country Living Magazine is a source for a lot of helpful ideas, recipes and the like.  Thanksgiving is no different from the rest of the year.  Go take a look at these!  Tips from Country Living!

Smart Savvy Living has 10 tips to keep your Thanksgiving organized and help you stress less.  Some are obvious – make lists – but if you follow these, it WILL decrease the stress and help you have a more enjoyable holiday with the people you care most about.  Isn’t that the true point?

I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Fall Leaves

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30 Reasons I Love Fall

Fall Color 1

Falling temperatures and falling leaves

Crisp evenings and wrapping up in soft blankets

Hot coffee on cool mornings

Sweet children cute winter clothes

Pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin spice donuts

Toasty blankets on the bed and no heat to dry out my skin

Walking through crunchy leaves

Gathering with family and friends to be grateful for all that we have and those around us

Pumpkin spice MnMs

Football and walks

Apples and pears (oh you have to try Honeycrisp apples!)

Fall carnivals and hot apple cider

Halloween kiddies and lots of candy

School and school activities

Soups and stews and hot, fresh bread

Pumpkin patches and hayrides

Scarves and jackets, drives to look at leaves

Burning candles and holding hands

Chili and cornbread

Crackling fires and toasted marshmallows

Fall Leaves

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30 Foolproof Self-Care Tips for the Greatly Stressed

On Your Own Nerves

Life is stressful and complicated – I am fairly certain that we can all agree on that.  Many families either have two parents working or are single-parent homes.  Add to that schedules for children that require families to be in multiple places at the same time and you find stress – how to feed the family, be involved with both children, work, get laundry done, and so on.  Other stresses for people with or without children include travel for work, long work hours, having to work holidays, not being able to make ends meet, committing to too many things, not having enough time, eating poorly, inability to accept things as they are, and failure to take time to relax.  Of course, those just scratch the surface.  I am a mother of two, one of whom has a chronic illness that she will never grow out of, a lifelong situation that has changed her life and those of me and the rest of the family.  We face the stresses of changes in her condition, hospital stays, lots and lots of doctor visits of various types, and the fact that even simple things like having her teeth examined by a dentist are complicated. That doesn’t even begin to describe the stress of trying to make sure that our son, who doesn’t have health issues, doesn’t feel neglected.  Stressors abound.

In view of all this, I have been trying to find ways to de-stress, lessen my anxiety, and take care of myself.  I want to be a better worker (I work part time), better spouse, and better mother.  I have found that to be impossible as long as I am stressed to the max, anxious alm0st all time time, and beginning to see physical side effects of stress.  Here are a list of things that I have tried and found help me.  Some or all of them may appeal to you.  I hope that at least some of them will help you as well.

  1. Soak your feet in hot water and Epsom salts.  I use about one cup of Epsom salts in a dishpan that I use specifically for soaking my feet (purchased on Amazon, but can probably be found at Wal-Mart or Target).  I make the water fairly hot and soak for 10 minutes or so.  Then put moisturizer on your feet and cover with stocks.  I highly recommend this an hour or so before bed – it even helps me sleep.
  2. Solitude.  Sometimes you just need a brief break – some quiet to either contemplate the situation or to not think about it at all.  As I mentioned earlier, I have two delightful, wonderful children – one of whom is very chatty.  Sometimes I just need a few minutes of quiet to gather my thoughts.  In my experience, I have less stressful days when I can have 15-20 minutes of time to myself.
  3. Fifteen minutes to yourself when you get home.  I highly recommend taking fifteen minutes or so when you get home to sit in a quiet place and unwind.  Ask your children to give you a few minutes before asking you anything – or go in your room and shut the door.  Let them know it will just be a short time.  Read for a few minutes, rock in a rocking chair, crochet, write, or whatever else helps you relax.  If just sitting helps, by all means sit and be still.
  4. Keep a journal.  Write out the good things, as well as the bad.  You can look back at the good memories on days you need something to perk you up.  Also, seeing what you’ve overcome can help as well.  In addition, sometimes writing out a problem can help you see things more clearly.  Remember, there is no rule that says you have to keep any or all of your journal.  If you feel better burning, shredding, or otherwise disposing of what you’ve written, then do so.
  5. Be sure to get enough sleep.  At least once a week, go to bed at earlier than normal to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.  If you have trouble sleeping, try getting more exercise.  If that doesn’t work, talk to a doctor or look into other methods of getting help with sleep problems.
  6. Clear some clutter.  Believe it or not, by organizing, you will make yourself feel better.  Clutter is a source of stress.  When you cannot find something, you get frustrated and worried, especially if it is something like car keys or cell phones.  It results in time spent looking for things rather than being productive.
  7. Five things to give up:
    1. People pleasing
    2. Negative self-talk
    3. Complaining
    4. The need to be right
    5. Running from things you fear
  8. Exercise a little every day.  There are some creative ways to work exercise into your day; do some research on Google.  Even 20 minutes a day is a big help, and may help you sleep better too!
  9. Make a humor file – collect articles from magazines or newspapers, comic strips, pictures, etc. – anything that makes you laugh or smile.  Pull it out on tough days.
  10. Read, read, read.  Sometimes curling up with a good book, whether it is fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, book, magazine, or whatever, is a great escape for a while – long enough to relax and unwind a bit.
  11. Practice gratitude.  If you are feeling stressed or depressed, sit down and make a list of five things that you are grateful for; it doesn’t matter what it is.  Start small: a flower, the breeze, waking up this morning, the tree outside your window, the sunset.
  12. Cut back on junk food, caffeine, and sugar.  Don’t overuse alcohol.
  13. When stressed, focus on what you can control – and  stop worrying about the things that you can’t.  Keep telling yourself to do that until it gets to be a habit.  Worrying about things you cannot change won’t change things, won’t make them better – but it can make your stress worse and make you sick.
  14. Replace negative self-talk with positive.  This can be something along the lines of using positive affirmations.  Reframe the negative things you tell yourself.  For example, if you think something like, “I can’t do this,” rephrase it to: “I’m not sure how to do this yet, but I will learn.”
  15. Cut back on electronics and media.  Keeping up with world happenings is a good thing overall, but it is negative in general.  Bad news sells papers.  Cut back on the amount of time you spend on computer, playing games, reading the news, following the news stories.  Spend more time with family, reading, exercising, or doing a hobby.
  16. Take up a hobby – speaking of hobbies!  Learn something new or pick up something you’ve been doing already.  Crochetcan be very relaxing – and yes, men crochet or knit too…
    1. http://www.pinterest.com/csuecrafty/real-men-crochet-or-knit/
    2. On Being a Man Who Knits
    3. No Yarn: Charity Does Good With Stitch In Time 
    4. Meet the Soldier Who Learned to Crochet In Afghanistan
  17. Try meditation.  Start small – mediate for five minutes.  Keep practicing – it takes time to build up but any amount should help your stress levels.
  18. Take an online course and stretch yourself.
  19. Do something nice for someone.
  20. Stop trying to be someone else, for someone else – or trying to live your life to please someone else.  Be yourself – live your values and your interests and follow your dreams.  You’ll find that relieves a LOT of stress.
  21. Sit on the back porch and enjoy your favorite beverage as the sun rises or sets.  Enjoy the sounds of nature.
  22. Practice healthy breathing – many people don’t breathe correctly and stress can affect breathing as well.
  23. Learn to acknowledge all of your feelings – including the negative ones, like anger and jealousy.  Recognize when you are feeling them, explore why you are feeling them, and acknowledge them.  Then let them go.
  24. Cry – let it all out.  Sometimes you just need to vent and let out some of your internal pressure.  It is a way of releasing pressure and stress.
  25. Make a list of activities that you enjoy doing – and do one.
  26. Say no to something that you really don’t want to do, or say no if you don’t have enough energy to commit to something else.  Forget what other people say or think – this is for your own well-being.
  27. Stop watching TV and read instead.
  28. Set your own goals and get away from living by someone else’s rules and goals for you.
  29. Determine your core values and make sure your job and your lifestyle are aligned with them.  When they aren’t in agreement, there is a disconnect and it can be very stressful.
  30. Develop coping strategies.  Sources of help include:
    1. Common Coping Responses for Stress
    2. Stress Management
    3. 101 Ways to Cope With Stress

Stress Less

Sources of information:

Clear Clutter Out of Your Life

Why Mess Causes Stress

 

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10 Ways to Organize at the Start of a New School Year

Back to School

Ok, my children are in second and fourth grade.  I have put this off long enough.  I have been trying to find a workable system to keep track of appointments, school events, paperwork, things that are to keep at home, things to return to school, and so forth.  So…finally I have committed to doing this for 2014-2015 school year.  Go me…lol.  Better late than never!

This year I have started some new things in an effort to start getting my family more organized.  Here is my list of projects:

  1. Notebooks for each child.  Name, teacher’s name, grade, school year and school will go on the front page.  Name and year on the spine – if I can get that arranged.  In each:
    • Page with school address, telephone number, fax, school nurse name and contact information, and hours.  I will also put the teacher, her email address, contact number (phone extension) and hours I can reach her.
    • Copy of the school system calendar for the year, along with information on make-up day schedules
    • Section for correspondence with the teacher and with the nurse as needed
    • Section for IEPs, report cards, etc.
    • Section for notes from meetings and the like
    • Section for papers to save
  2. Create a place to save special artwork and larger documents.  Ideas include:
    • Files in a file cabinet
    • File specially designed for the purpose
    • Frame that allows you to easily rotate artwork out
  3. Put together a “study basket” with necessary materials (not all of these apply to my son, who is 9, but would be good for older kids):
    • Pens
    • Pencils/pencil sharpener
    • Eraser
    • Scratch paper
    • Calculator
    • Loose-leaf paper and clipboard
    • Crayons
  4. Organize school lunches.  One thing my husband and I have started doing is making up snack bag servings of sides and treats for lunch boxes for about a week at a time.  Sunday evening is when my husband usually gets these ready; we’ve broken down getting-ready-for-school activities – he gets lunches ready and I feed and dress the kids in the morning.
  5. For next year, I want to try following a checklist that I found here.  Mind you, the actual checklist is one on a list of organizational ideas linked from other locations.  Still, it breaks down all the different things you need to do to get ready ahead of time for the start of a new school year.  Great checklist to follow!
  6. Organize the calendar.  Put all of the appointments, school events (print out school system calendar as soon as its available), and family events – then color-code by individual.  It makes it so much easier to see at a glance who is doing what during the week.  Also, find out if there are any due dates known up front for applications to things, deadlines to have information in by, and the like – add those to the calendar and highlight in their own color!
  7. Designate a place in your house to store school supplies and store them there.  At the end of the year, place the unused supplies there as well – next year, you may not need to buy as much.
  8. Clean off the fridge and start the new school year fresh.  Put the new school calendar or class calendar for the month up, list of school supplies, and a plastic bag for box tops.
  9. Establish the daily routine early.  Kids do so much better with a regular schedule, especially a lot of special needs children.  Get them into the routine of doing homework first, relaxing, going outside and playing, dinner with the family (as much as possible with multiple schedules…sigh), and taking a bath.  Develop a bedtime routine for younger children and try to be consistent, even on the weekends.
  10. Establish a checklist near the door, if possible.  Ask some questions before leaving the house, or before breakfast:
    • Does anyone need lunch money?
    • Does anyone need money for a field trip?
    • Are lunches in backpacks?
    • Is homework where it is supposed to be?
  11. Establish good routines EARLY in the year.
    • Make sure everyone has enough time in the morning for everything that needs doing: getting dressed, eating, brushing teeth, and making sure everything is in backpacks.
    • Adjust after the first few days.  Get homework and supplies for the next day at night and put it in the backpack.
    • Lay out clothes, if necessary.
    • Get older children to help with younger ones, if possible – or to help with getting breakfast materials out and on the table.,
    • Keep bedtime at the same time as much as possible.
  12. A few extra tips:
    • Keep the school’s list of supplies that are needed each year.  If you maintain a file, it should help limit buying multiple items like calculators, rulers and so on that can carry over from one year to the next.
    • Make sure your child has a school planner.  Some schools are starting this process on their own; my son’s third grade class actually provided one.  If they don’t, start teaching your child to use one early.  There is a wide selection out there and many for different grade levels.
    • Some families use a checklist for each family member – morning checklist, homework or afternoon checklist, night checklist.
    • Consider using a hanging shoe organizer to keep scarves, gloves, water shoes, and other small things handy.
    • Organize your pantry and make sure you have supplies for easy meals.

School supplies

I will say that my circumstances – having a special needs child that gets into everything and pulls things off of the wall – changes the way I do things.  I have seen a LOT of ideas online for creating a communication center where put correspondence from the school that needs responses from parents or signatures, things that need to be paid, and the like.  I’ve seen suggestions for giant calenders on the wall, where you can put color-coded appointments for each family member.  All of those are great ideas, but unworkable for me, unfortunately.  At any rate, here are some suggested sites for good organizing ideas for families without the complications that our family faces:

Simplify101 – Back To School Organizing Tips

Babycenter – 12 Ideas for Back-To-School

 

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