If department store flyers and school supply sales are any indications, there’s no doubt it is back-to-school season once more.
Last year may have been a strange school year for many families, but with reinstated social distancing restrictions on the rise, this coming year may still look different than years prior. If you rent–particularly if you live in an apartment complex–there are some specific things you can do to prepare yourself and your family for this hectic transition, no matter what this school year will look like for your local community.
Anticipate Your New Routines:
Routines are extremely important to find success; especially for children, who need that additional structure and reassurance during a somewhat unpredictable time. For students who will be starting school in person, transitioning out of your summertime routine is key. Around a month before the school year begins, start transitioning your child’s bedtime routine to ensure they won’t be groggy and ill-adapted to early morning wakeups.
If your area is implementing social distancing measures, now is the time to examine your child’s schedule for online learning. If your child can complete work at any time during the day, it can be helpful to implement your own schedule to ensure that your child is not relying on online connectivity during peak hours. This is especially important if you noticed connectivity issues last year due to a strain on your apartment’s internet connection. Take this opportunity to plan accordingly, or consult with your property management team to see if there are ways to address connectivity issues before the school year begins.
Whether your child will be in a classroom or learning from home, you will need to carve out a space that encourages a productive learning environment. From homework assignments to online schooling, a small area dedicated to school activities can do a lot to diminish distractions.
While living in a small space can pose a challenge, particularly when your space needs to serve many functions, there are some ways that you can get organized for the school year without sacrificing your home environment. Just like with a home office, using modular desks or carts and finding furniture that performs more than one function can be helpful in this task. Remember that when bringing in new items, you may need to donate, store, or reorganize items currently in your home or children’s rooms.
Find out more organization tips:
- Damage-Free Toy Storage for Small Spaces and Apartment Dwellers
- Tips for a Productive Home Office in a Small Space
Get Your Menu Ready:
The school year can require already busy families to juggle a more jam-packed schedule. From hectic mornings spent catching the bus, to long nights of soccer practice and play rehearsals, there can be a lot more to balance than in the summer. These busy weekdays can make food prep difficult. Give yourself a little head start by thinking about your menu early. You can get ahead of the game by making freezer dinners and even prepping some PB&Js that you can take out of the freezer for school lunches.
If that sounds too involved, simply making a list of your family’s favorite easy weeknight recipes can be a lifesaver when you are too tired to think about what to cook. Consider making it even more fun by doing a recipe exchange with some of your neighbors. Simply have each person list one simple meal that is perfect for weeknight dinners and include the cooking instructions. This can keep everyone from those weeknight dinner ruts that are so common during the hectic school year.
Get to Know Your Rental Community:
If you live in a multifamily rental, find out if any back-to-school events or activities are being planned. Some management teams offer fun activities or contests during the school year, if yours doesn’t you may find they would be open to arranging one. You may find a great way to meet parents with whom you can form a carpooling or playdate routine. School-aged children (especially those who may be new to the area) get the opportunity to meet new friends that they’ll see in school. From resident clothing exchanges, charity school supply drives, to small incentives for kids who have good report cards; it is always fun for kids to participate in your rental community. Plus, there are few things better than knowing your child already has a great friend once school begins.
Take Some Time to Redecorate:
Back to school can be a busy time; before you’re in the throes of a new routine, take time to redecorate your space. Creating an atmosphere that truly reflects your family’s personality and sense of style can ensure that coming home in the evenings is a calming and inviting experience. Especially, if you had to reorganize your space to accommodate any school activities, now is an excellent time to add some renter-friendly decor. After all, a well-organized and decorated space is the perfect place to recharge after a long day.