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School Year Resolutions

Getting your family organized, healthy, and happy for the start of the new school year

August 2012

A new school year hides just around the corner, expecting new schedules, new mindsets, new routines. You look around the house and see damp bathing suits, sandals, half-eaten sandwiches, and flavored ice wrappers. You hear the kids giggling from whatever cartoon they've decided to watch, and it dawns on you that your family isn't yet prepared for the structure of the school year.

You've started school years many times before, but how exactly did you do it? What changes did you make to get your family back into the swing of things? In case you've forgotten how to make the transition smoothly, here are a few school year resolutions that will be good for the whole family to take on.

Get Organized

A key component of the school year (for both you and the kids) is organization. When the year starts, the kids will be keeping their things in binders, folders, backpacks, lockers, and desks. These routines will make keeping school supplies, permission slips, and homework papers organized a habit rather than a chore:

• Whether it's keeping the bedside table neat, or having a routine of taking shoes off and hanging up wet bathing suits in the same place every time they come home, they'll start understanding that keeping things organized in the beginning will make everything easier later.

• Have them practice keeping their homework area organized before the year actually begins. Whether they decide to use labels, folders, or other organization supplies, they'll know where everything is and will know how to navigate it all when the school year begins.

Start Exercising

Summertime usually implies a much more active lifestyle for the kids, and that doesn't always carry over into the school year. Resolution number 2 calls you to create an exercising plan for the family. Getting these fun routines in before the school year starts will get the kids staying active during the school year as well:

• Evening family walks after dinner. This is a sneaky way for you to get the family exercising and spending time together.

• Wii Fit, Just Dance for Wii, and other active video games can get the kids moving while still letting them play those video games they love.

• If you have a gym membership, make it a point to get to the gym a few times a week. Take the kids swimming in the lap pool or for a game of basketball.

• Make time for the Monon Trail every week. Even if it's just on the weekends or one night a week, take the family down the Monon for some good family and, possibly, ice cream time.

Eat Healthy, Eat Together

Start making it a goal to eat dinner as a family. While scattered summertime schedules may make that more difficult, the routine of the school year may make it an easier resolution to keep. While eating together every night may be an unrealistic goal, set a time for dinner and shoot for as many nights as you can. These meals will keep conversation flowing and you'll know exactly what the kids are eating.

With that in mind, be sure to plan for healthy meals. A side salad, some veggies, or fruit for dessert are all good things to consider adding or ordering! The healthy parts of your family meals will make the habit of eating healthier school lunches desirable rather than dreaded.

Maintain A Consistent Sleeping Schedule

While most people like using the summer days to sleep in, this will make moving to an early school schedule more difficult. A week or two before school starts, begin waking the kids up a little earlier. When they're waking up earlier, make sure they're getting to bed a little earlier, too. Cranky kids aren't the most fun kids!

With these resolutions in mind, make the transition into the school year with the ease and grace you so desire. Not only will school be easier to begin again, these are all tips that will lead to a healthier and happier family. Who doesn't want that?

Tips & Tricks from The Container Store for Keeping an Organized Home

With so many activities, appointments, deadlines, meetings and commitments to manage, families need a solid organization system to make the most of each day. Here are some of our favorite tips for keeping busy families more organized and less stressed:

• Display a schedule: Place a wall-mounted calendar in a common area, such as the kitchen or family room, and include every family member's schedule and chore list for the week or month. Use different colors to code each family member's entries.

• Start a collection basket: Place a large basket near the most accessible door to collect library books, video rentals, mail, dry cleaning, and items to be donated or delivered. Likewise, set up a bin near the stairwell to collect items that need to go upstairs or downstairs.

• Master the mail: Don't get caught in an avalanche of paper. Catch paperwork as it comes into the house by setting up a system near the main entrance of your home. Each family member should check their "in box" each afternoon and every morning.

• Develop a central place for keys: Install hooks in a high-traffic area of the house to store keys and avoid any last-minute scavenger hunts for house and car keys.

• Make lunch plans early: Involve the children and plan lunch menus a week in advance. Pack lunch boxes and sacks the night before a school day to save valuable morning time.

• Organize the kids' closet: Like adults, if kids' closets are organized, they will have an easier time getting ready in the morning.

• Create a filing system: Develop a file containing important documents for each child, such as report cards and medical records.

• Make a list: Keep a list of all family errands on a single piece of paper or in a notebook, so that you'll be more apt to accomplish everything in one trip.

Tags: Education, Health, Home & Food, In This Issue, Parenting

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