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August 2, 2018

Take Your Home Back to School!

It’s the time of year kids dread…and that parents live for! School bells are ringing again, and everyone is ready to settle into a comfortable routine. Or are they? Does the approach of the school year keep you up at night, wondering how you’re going to keep everyone in line and organized? Fear not…the team at Ernest Signature Custom Homes has some great ideas for getting your home ready for back to school season! Set Up a Special Place for Homework It’s how your kids will know you mean business! Homework should be a priority every day, and by setting aside a specific place for it, you emphasize just how important it is. It doesn’t need to be large or fancy, but it should be an area that can be kept quiet, away from the distractions of TV, games or telephones. If your children are old enough to have them, make sure the homework area is a device-free zone. Create a homework corner in your home office, turn your little-used breakfast nook into study central, or put a comfortable desk in each child’s room. Make sure the area has sufficient lighting and ergonomic seating. There’s a File for That… There’s always important papers that come with the school year…permission slips, report cards to be signed, correspondence from the school, tuition bills, etc. Keep them all together in a clearly labeled file. Instruct the children to ALWAYS, ALWAYS put anything their teacher gives to them into the file as soon as they get home from school. It will help keep everyone up to date with essential paperwork. Don’t Forget Chores It’s important for your kids to learn how much work it takes to keep a household going. Make sure everyone has at least a job or two to do. Younger children can pick up their toys, fill pet food dishes, water plants, collect clothes for laundry baskets, learn to dust or fetch things for you as you clean. Older children can take on kitchen duties such as loading and unloading dishwashers, setting tables or preparing simple meals. They can also learn to do laundry, vacuum or sweep floors or take out trash. All kids should be coached on keeping their rooms tidy as well. Keep a chart with everyone’s assigned duties on display, so everyone knows what their responsibilities are. Breakfast Made Easy The days where everyone sits down to a big, home-made breakfast before leaving home are the stuff of retro TV. Keep it speedy, healthy and easy with quick-to-prepare ideas from the freezer section – just microwave and go! Everyone gets their favorite and you’re out of the house in a snap! If you’re feeling domestic, bake a big batch of muffins and store each one in the freezer in its own small freezer bag. They’ll heat up as quickly as the mass-produced offerings. Ut-Oh…Lunch! One of the hardest things to do is keep everyone’s lunches straight. Each week, lay in a supply of typical supplies such as bread, peanut butter and jelly, cold cuts or tuna, meal and snack kits such as Lunchables, Balanced Breaks and P3 Portable Protein Packs, fresh and dried fruit, single serve packs of nuts, granola bars or natural cookies. Reserve an easy-to-reach space on a shelf and/or drawer at the bottom of the fridge for cold products, and use a kitchen cart or a dedicated area of the pantry for other items. By keeping everything in a limited space, you’ll know each morning what you have and what you need. If you’re running low on something essential before week’s end, you won’t be caught off guard.  Children should be tasked with preparing their own lunches as soon as they can. By keeping tabs on the offerings they can choose, you know what they’re getting. They’ll also be more likely to eat them if they choose what goes in them, instead of buying less healthy snacks at school. Many schools offer lunch programs; see if your school allows you to pre-pay for your children’s lunches to avoid the “Mom…I need lunch money!” panic. Create a Family Calendar Use a dry erase board to keep track of everyone’s lessons, appointments, games and activities for the week. This way when Allison comes home from school, she knows you’re taking James to a 4:30pm eye doctor appointment and she should start dinner so everyone can be fed and out the door at 6:30 for Trey’s basketball game that evening. It may take a few weeks to create these habits, but once you’re on a roll, you’ll be surprised how organized your back-to-school home can be!
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