As August’s sun shines down upon us, it’s a sign that kids will soon be heading back to school.
For those who love school, this can be a countdown to new friends and new adventures.
The best way to give your kids an advantage is to prepare your home for the new school year.
We want to help.
Here are some tips and tricks to get your new home ready, as we welcome your kids back to school at Atlantic Builders.
1. Make Space for New Clothes
Fashions change with the breeze and children grow, so it makes sense your kids will need some new clothes for the new school year. Even though all our homes—like our modern single-family homes at Overlook in the scenic Shenandoah Valley—have plenty of closet space for everyone, it’s still best to clear some room for the new clothes.
But don’t just throw out old clothes if you can help it. Old clothes can find new life as hand-me-downs to younger family members. You can also donate them to charity or, in some localities, actually recycle the fabric. And for the most adventurous of us, old clothes can be crafted into new clothes through many upcycling projects (e.g., turning an old pair of jeans into a new-to-you vest).
2. Get Organized
But it’s not just your kids’ closets that need organizing: You want to make sure their homework area is organized too. Get all their supplies in easy-to-find places and it will also be easy for them to clean up after themselves. Organizing their homework station will give them a dedicated space where they know they can work in peace whenever they need to.
Work with your kids to organize everything. This will not only help the work get done faster, but will help you have the conversation with them how they work best. You might find that the side the pencils are on makes a big difference. Or maybe they like their supplies lined up in a certain way based on the order in which they do their homework. Organizing together will be a great bonding and learning experience.
3. Build a Communications Center
Birthday parties and school events: The social lives of children can be hectic! Add in project due dates, practices, and concerts, and you easily see why have one location for all this information is vital. It should have a calendar and a place to post notes. This note space can be corkboard, glass, white board, chalk board, or any other surface that notes can be stuck or written on and easily removed or erased.
Do make sure your communications center is somewhere easily visible. It can be stuck to the fridge or on your kid’s door. If you lived in our Kenridge home in Southwood, for example, it could be on the second level wall next to your stairs so everyone sees it heading down to start their day. Or, maybe, you’d prefer it right near the garage door, so everyone sees it as soon as they come home or head out. As long as everyone sees it and uses it, your communication center will quickly become the brains of the home.
4. Streamline Morning Bathroom Routines
It’s a subject many don’t want to talk about, but morning bathroom routine harmony is essential to properly (and painlessly) get your kids off to school and you off to work—even with all the bathrooms an Atlantic Builders home come with! It starts with a conversation about what everyone needs to get ready in the morning and when they need it.
And there are many ways to build this schedule. Do it on an erasable surface so you can write and erase until all the routines are perfect. Or, write everyone’s routine on a card and move them around until harmony exists. The important part is that you deal with this before it is needed, otherwise, you’ll be facing a few mornings of scrambling and discord as everything gets sorted out.
5. Create a Lunch Packing Station
Just like your communications center, having a set place to build and pack lunches is important. If pack in reusable containers, have your kids return them to the station each day after school (clean, if you can build it into their chores). Plan your lunches in advance and you’ll be able to act like a professional restaurant and assembly line it.
Use the French culinary term, mise en place, to your advantage. That’s where, like your favorite cooking show, you get all the ingredients in place before you start packing lunches. Then it’s just picking from the various containers, and very quickly you’ll be turning out one lunch after the other. Of course, you can also teach your kids how to use this technique to make their own lunches….
Don’t let the summer end and school start again without having one more great adventure. We have two suggestions, specifically if you live in the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania area—like Atlantic Builders homeowners in Springhaven or the newly grand opened Ruffins Reserve—that will help you create memories in the trees or on the water.
Take to the trees and explore your dexterity and push your muscles at Wilderness Adventure Park. Tackle the climbing wall, the Goliath ladder, the ropes course, or all three! Use strategy and strength to tackle the these climbing obstacles and enjoy a fantastic outside experience. The ropes course even has a few zipline moments to give you a little break and a great, breezy rush as you fly above the ground.
If your family is more at home on the water than in the air, head to Downtown Fredericksburg at the Virginia Outdoor Center. Schedule a river trip and travel by canoe, kayak, tube, or stand up paddle board on many waterways in the area. You can even book a single-day or overnight fishing trip! Enjoy the 50+ years of experience Virginia Outdoor Center has in local waters, and create some amazing end-of-summer memories.
Living in an Atlantic Builders home gives you all the back-to-school advantages you could imagine. Not only are they in great school districts, but they also have all the spaces inside to make learning more fun, homework more comfortable to do, and everything back-to-school easier. Good luck in the new school year!