Back To School: Preparing Your Home

    A new school year is just around the corner, and Gainesville is in the middle of back-to-school rush. Retail stores are offering tax-free student supplies, families are traveling back from summer vacation, and construction crews are rushing to finish up roadwork before the school busses begin to run.

    Settling back into a school year schedule can be a challenge for families with busy routines, so we have gathered up some tips to help you plan ahead by getting your home ready with a back-to-school plan.

    Be Prepared Not Worried

    Family Emergency Plan: Prepare a family emergency plan for any possible scenario and make sure your kids know where to find the information they need in a pinch. FEMA has a good basic family preparedness plan available on their site.

    Family Tracker: You might consider investing in a GPS emergency tracker for kids, like FiLip or GizmoPal. This technology offers you the peace of mind of always knowing where your child is, as well as additional options for emergency calls or messages.

    Sick Day Plan: Make a plan for sick days by planning ahead who and how will responsibilities be handled. Also, make a list of activities for the kids.

    Smart Home Tech: Become a “Smart Home” by integrating technology that can help secure and protect your home remotely from your mobile device. Converting your HVAC to a Nest system allows you to better control your home’s energy efficiency. Other technology allows you to control your lights, locks, garage door and much more all from your phone so you can check in on the go.

    Every Room Has a Back-To-School Plan

    Setup your home to make your morning and after-school routine a breeze.

    Kitchen/Dining: Prepared meals go a long way in saving precious times in the morning, and dinning as a family helps kids and parents communicate about their day. Use the kitchen and dining area as the time to sync everyone’s schedule.

    Bedroom/Bathroom: Prepare a bathroom schedule for kids to avoid the morning chaos. In the bedrooms, lay out school clothes for the next day ready to go with all accessories and hairstyles planned ahead. Don’t forget to prep school band instruments or sports uniforms ready to go ahead of time as well.

    LaunchPad Area: Create a morning launch pad area for you and your kids. Use anything from a bin to a bookshelf as the central area to keep everything each kid needs for the day before heading out the door. Prepare school backpacks, lunches, and attach cubbies for homework, permission slips etc.

    Homework Area: Whether your kids like to read at the kitchen table or at a desk, having a designated place and time for homework helps keep kids organized as well as keep you in tune with what’s going on in school.

    Use Technology To Stay Organized

    Keeping your family on a schedule is imperative to getting the kids ready for school.

    Schedules: Use your home tablet as your family scheduling hub. Applications like Cozi, Google Calendar, or iCal can help you keep everyone’s schedule up to date and shared with the group. Set the tablet in a central place where all family members can check-in on their daily tasks from soccer practice to trash duty, to who gets in the shower first.

    Meals: Prepared meals can be a major time saver in the mornings, applications like Wunderlist or FoodPlanner can help you plan meals and grocery trips weeks in advance. Here are some ideas of quick prepared meals and snacks to try.

    Documents & Photos: Applications like Evernote allow you to write notes, collect online links and photos as well as share and discuss information within the app; use it like a family scrapbook for school documents and information. Cloud based applications like iCloud and Dropbox are also a low-cost way to store all of the family documents and photos and access them from multiple devices.

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