Back to School Must-Haves

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Back to school starts now in my house even though all four of my kids are returning at different times.  This year will be my most challenging school year yet.  Four kids in three different schools with four different drop-off and pick-up times.

Thankfully my youngest, Shaya, will still enjoy our beloved homeschool for two days a week.  We decided to put him in a “regular” program three days a week so he’ll be with more kids as his sister is moving up to kindergarten.

I hate online paperwork and envy the parents with only one child.  I literally have folders, separate file cabinets for each kid, their rosters, forms, sports and miscellaneous important documents.  It’s a LOT to organize.  Does anyone else feel that there are way too many orientations, meet-and-greets, pot lucks and social activities this month?  Multiply it by four and you can imagine my schedule.  Plus during BTS nights, I am divided in numerous classrooms and for SURE missing something.

I spent the day labeling backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles and clothes.

Here are some of my BTS MUST-HAVES.  My kids love them all and it truly helps to have some go-to items to help you keep it together:

Mabel’s Labels – my fav, no-peel personalized stickers for EVERYTHING.  They even survive the wash so “lost and found” garments make it back home. I label everything from knapsacks to books, to water bottles.  I also ordered Happy Birthday stickers (“From Shaya”) and gift stickers (“just a little something from the Charvet Family,” etc.).

The ModernMom Weekly Tear-Away Calendar is a huge help with my brood and everyone in the house refers to it. Sunday night, I pencil in the entire week so nothing is forgotten.

I like lunch boxes that can fit the water bottle, cute freezer pack, snack bags (less paper waste!) and other containers.

Here’s Shaya’s favorite:

Notes from Mom are always a comfort too.

Behavior charts are a super effective and fun way to help your kids stay on track and achieve behavioral goals  like getting up on time, making beds, burushing teeth, etc.

We decorate a large piece of oak tag, list behavior traits that need to be improved or activities that must be done.  Also a list of rewards to work towards.

The idea for the “Homework Box” came from one of Sierra’s teachers, and it’s great. I put together any and all possible tools needed for homework and school projects; pencils, markers, glue, tape, scissors, erasers, rulers, colored pencils, etc. Everything stays in this box; both girls have their own. My kids get the box out when it’s homework time. Trust me – this saves a LOT of stalling.

I cannot believe how many Bat Mitzvahs my daughter will be attending this year!  I asked the ModernMom community what they thought an appropriate gift is or generic amount to give for close friends, acquaintances and children we do not know at all.  Here’s the range – $36 to $90. Now multiply that times 30!  So I am purchasing 30 pre-paid gift cards for all these events.

There are also at least 20 birthday parties this year that each of my kids will be invited to.  That’s another 80 gifts to buy!  I love Amazon gift cards, iTunes gift cards, or pre-paid Visa cards for the older kids.  Having these generic gifts on hand saves me a hundred trips to the toy store.

Of course special friends get personal gifts, but I really need to simplify so I am all about being efficient.

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