The first day of school is two weeks away, so there's still time for some summer fun. Go ahead and hit the beach. Take that last camping trip. Plan that weekend barbecue. Do some night stargazing.
Then get yourself into the back-to-school groove.
Organization is often the key to a successful school year, so now's the time to start making preparations. Here are a few tips to get you on your way so that first week won't be so overwhelming.
• Say goodbye to late nights and sleeping till noon. Start by adjusting your child's bedtime and wakeup time — one day at a time — so you'll be back in the swing by the first day of school.
• If you've been out of the habit, adjust that dinnertime eating schedule accordingly. Plan on dinnertime meals spent around the table so you can enjoy conversations about each other's day.
• Take inventory. Go through last year's school supplies to see what can be recycled. Check for leftover filler paper, printing paper, folders, notebooks, rulers, crayons, scissors, markers, etc. Sharpen pencils. Change the batteries in the calculator. Clean out the backpack. Wash the old lunch box.
• Do the same for clothing. See what can be worn this year and what needs to be tossed or donated. Make a list of clothing items your child will need.
• Watch the sales and go ahead and purchase items you know your child will need or be expected to supply during the school year such as filler paper, science backboards and folders. (Check your school's website to see if supplies are listed there.) Be sure to peruse the fliers for what's on sale.
• Set up a study/homework spot in a quiet area in your home — preferably away from the television. Stock with needed supplies: paper, pencils, pens, dictionary, etc.
• Create a place — a basket, shelf or hook — for your child to keep his or her backpack, lunch box, sweater, sneakers, etc., so those items will be ready to grab on those busy school mornings.
• Gather documentation you will need, such as your child's immunization records and a doctor's note for any prescribed medications your child has to take during the school day.
• Make a list of contact and emergency phone numbers you will need to supply on orientation day.
• Update the contact list in your cell phone to include your child's school's telephone number, carpool contacts and, if your child takes the bus, the district transportation number. If your child has a cell phone, make sure he or she is supplied with parent/guardian work numbers and any emergency contact numbers he or she might need if you cannot be reached.
• Purchase a file folder for important papers. Separate those you will need to keep for future reference and those that will be signed and returned.
• Get yourself a calendar or a whiteboard and hang it in a prominent place so you can see at a glance when those after-school activities or doctor's appointments are scheduled or when that science project is due.
• Make up a morning bathroom schedule if there are multiple people getting ready in the morning.
• Set the rules for when homework must be completed and school-day turn-off times for the television and computer.
• If he or she doesn't have one already, get your child a library card.
• Make sure your child has completed any summer assignments that are due the first week of school.