So, back to school mania. It's crazy, and I've got it times four. So, the only way that I'm going to survive the chaos is to get really, super organized. So, I've got a bunch of different things that I do to help manage that crazy time. First of all, book your pediatric appointments, those yearly appointments at the beginning of summer, not at the end of the summer, because you're never going to get in, and then you're going to be scrambling to turn your paperwork in. The other thing that I do every year, and I do this all year long, is I have a family calender. And it's a large calender, and I only use pencil. Pencil is very important for the success of this. But everybody's schedule is written on this calender, and the family, the children can refer to it. So, everybody knows where they're going, when they're going, on what particular day, and everything gets scheduled on there, events, parent-teacher conferences, birthday parties. It's just sort of a snapshot of what every month looks like, and I like to sit down every Sunday and fill in the week, and then the important dates are on there as well. I'm also a big online shopper when it comes to back to school. I do not want to deal with the retail masses. I do not want to deal with every other stressed out mom in the store. I know my kids' shoe sizes. I know their brands. I can order it all online, and it comes right to my doorstop. Love that. Another thing that I do is I create a snack drawer, so that all four of my children can help and participate when it comes to packing healthy lunches. So, they can go into the snack drawer, and they can pick out something that's packaged, and then of course, they can balance it and mix it with a fruit and a protein and something healthier. Huge help for me. Pack the lunches the night before. I also set the breakfast table the night before, so I'm not scrambling with four kids at 6 AM in the morning. Another thing that has been a saving grace for me when it comes to getting your children to sit down and do homework without pulling teeth, and to get them to focus, is to create a homework box. So, each child has a dedicated box, call the "Homework Box" and inside there is every single thing that they may need to do homework. Their art supplies, their scissors, their glue, their papers, their pencils, their erasers, their ruler, their binders. Everything is in this box. So, the conversation is, "Time to do homework. Pull out the homework box, and sit down and focus." Instead of, "Oh, I forgot this. I need this. Mommy, can you get this? Oh, I have this book here." Everything's there in one spot. Great for me. Great for the kids. And lastly, four kids have probably 10-20 birthday parties to go to a year. I have no time to go birthday present shopping and wrapping every single week. So, I find an age-appropriate great toy, that I really love, and I buy them in bulk. Boy/girl, generic, or if it's something really special I'll buy them wholesale if I can get them and I'll buy them in a bundle, and then I have them all wrapped and ready to roll. And then I've got birthday cards, generic, and I let the kids write them out. So, there's a closet full of pre-wrapped gifts, so they can pick and grab and go to their events. It's really all about being organized. Especially times four. It's the only way to do it. I also love personalized stickers. So, I get gift stickers that can be used all year long for friends, for holidays, for teacher gifts. They're personalized. They say something like, "Just a little something from Neriah", or Sierra, or Rain, or Shaya, or maybe the Charvet Family, or maybe even I have my name on them. I can just pop a sticker and go on any gift. Another thing that has helped me tremendously are washable personalized labels for my kids. They go one everything from the lunch boxes, to the sweatshirts, to the clothes. So that everything that ends up in the lost and found at school, because it will, somehow finds its way back to your own child. So, everything gets labeled, and it's also great for siblings fighting over clothes. Girls in the house always wanting to steal each others clothes and borrow them. So, I tell all my kids, "It's not labeled. It's not my problem. Use your labels."
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