Kids and Students

When Your College Kid Is Home for the Summer

The stacks of boxes and bins, bags of clothes and bedding, and random loose items like lamps and rolled-up posters can mean only one thing: your college kid just got home for summer break! While parents (and maybe the siblings) are thrilled to have all their chicks back in the nest for three months, there is a new family dynamic that will definitely take some getting used to. Your “child” has now experienced nine months of independent living, and any expectations that this summer will be like their high school summers may be quickly dashed.

It’s a new normal in your parent-child relationship—and it is definitely on the positive side. Your student is a young adult now, even if they still have “-teen” as part of their age. They’ve experienced huge personal growth and will likely not be the same person they were last September. Their sense of independence is high right now, and you need to respect that. That being said, they will be living in your home, and they need to respect that. Here are our tips on finding a balance and making this transition smoother for everyone.

Give Them 48 Hours to Decompress

Empathize with them about finals being exhausting, packing and cleaning their place being a pain, and not seeing their college friends all summer being a bummer. Let them sleep in till noon, raid the kitchen, and not unpack or do laundry. For 48 hours. Then give them a good, strong nudge to put away all their stuff and ease themselves into the rhythms of home.

Talk About Expectations

Don’t expect that they’ll be home for dinner every night, or that they’ll be up early having breakfast with you. Assuming they are working, volunteering, or interning during the summer, they will be setting their own schedules. College kids don’t necessarily adhere to a daily routine that you may think makes sense, but if it works for them, let them do it. Clarify that it’s not your job to wake them up to go to work. If they stayed up till 3am bingeing Netflix and slept through their alarm, their being late for work is not your emergency. It’s tough love, but if they expect to be given freedoms then they should be accountable for their schedules.

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Your Graduation Party Planning Guide

Do you have a kiddo graduating from high school or college soon? Congratulations! This is definitely something to celebrate—it’s a major milestone for you and your soon-to-be-grad. If you are considering throwing a graduation party but feel bogged down by the details, use our planning timeline and checklist. It will help you organize a fun event while keeping your frazzle-rating at a minimum.

Four Weeks Before the Party

  • First, set a date and time.
    • Make sure it works for your grad and your immediate family, as well as a few extra-special people that you or your grad would really like to attend.
    • If you can, find out from your grad’s circle of friends if anyone else may be having a graduation party. You may try to minimize conflicting party dates/times if there are other parties.
    • Keep in mind that it doesn’t need to be the weekend of the graduation ceremony. In fact, it may be easier to do it a week or two after.
  • Next, decide on the location. Whether you do it at home or at a venue, both choices have their own sets of pros/cons.
    • Home considerations include space limitations, doing the shopping and cooking, set-up and clean-up, party rentals such as tents and tables/chairs, and possibly catering services.
    • Venue considerations include a higher budget, reservations and a deposit, minimal set-up/clean-up, limited menu options, and more rigid party hours.
  • Create Your Guest List.
    • Be sure to include your grad’s invitees: friends and their parents, teachers, coaches, tutors, bosses, the family they babysit for, etc.
    • Go ahead and invite friends and family who don’t live nearby. Even if they can’t make it, they can still send a card or present.
  • Send out the invitations. Evite or Paperless Post are both free and easy for sending electronic invitations.
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5 Things I Love About Marie Kondo’s New Netflix Show

As a professional home organizer, watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the new original series on Netflix, is a bit like a chef watching Top Chef, or like a real estate agent watching House Hunters on HGTV. It’s fascinating to see the different strategies and methods that Marie Kondo employs. At Simplify Experts we have organizing processes that are tried and true. Many are very similar to what Kondo teaches, but in small ways Kondo has a different take on how she goes about tidying. There are lots of ways to skin a cat, as they say; so instead of comparing organizing strategies, I’d love to share 5 reasons why I love the show.

Authenticity

The couples, families, and individuals on this show are real and authentic. They are young couples with small children, retirees, downsizers, widows, and couples just starting out. They share their real feelings about their families, their homes, their hopes and worries. They share honestly how clutter impacts their lives and how they would like their lives to change. They speak honestly about the hard work it takes to complete the tidying process. They share how they feel once they’ve decluttered and organized. They cry. They laugh. Their homes look like the homes of real people everywhere. They are like so many of the clients we’ve worked with.

No Judgement

This show does a great job of showing the empathy professional organizers have for their clients. Marie Kondo has a little ritual in which she says, “hello” to each new home. While we don’t share that practice, we are definitely honored to be invited into our

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Streamlining the Morning Lunch Crunch

Streamlining the Morning Lunch Crunch

When my eldest daughter was in kindergarten, I was a class helper. She sat next to a sweet boy from Japan, whose lunches were a daily source of amazement and envy—from the kids, as well as me and the teacher! He had a three-piece stainless bento box, and each layer contained beautifully-prepared food that looked like it should be on display somewhere: sushi rice shaped into animals or cars; carrots or apples carved into rosettes or spirals; bits of dried seaweed carefully cut into whiskers, or grass, or decorative stripes; tiny bite-sized cookies in ethereal shapes and colors.

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Support your Student’s Learning by Keeping School Supplies Organized

school supplies

Keep School Supplies Simple for Young Children

For young children, homework often involves the use of crayons, colored pencils, stickers, colored paper and the like. Keep a small amount of each of these in a handy caddy or a desk organizer. Choose a product which has space for writing utensils and paper. Keep this caddy on hand where your child does homework. An important step in organizing school supplies is to have your student put their tools back into the caddy when they are finished. For example, a sixteen pack of crayons is plenty (vs. a box of 64), your child will be able to make decisions faster and clean-up will be a cinch! Keep it simple. There is no need to create an elaborate

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Top Ten Dorm Room Must-Haves

College student dorm

My eldest child will be moving back to campus next month to start her sophomore year. Just over a year ago, we were up to our eyeballs in Pinterest and other websites with tips on what students need for their dorm rooms. First off, let me just say that, unless your kid is rooming with two friends and they have completely coordinated their color scheme and décor—or they’ve got a single room—there is no way their room will ever look like a Pinterest board!

A dorm room is going to be their home for nine months, so it should reflect their personality, be practical but comfortable, and not too cramped—a place they’ll sleep, study, eat, and socialize in. Most likely the university will provide the minimum: a bed, a desk, and a chair. Everything else is on you.

Here’s the “Top Ten” list of items that are beyond the basics (e.g., bedding).

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A Homework Station for Every Student

homework station

School is in session and that means homework assignments will be assigned soon. Your child will be more productive and motivated if they have a dedicated space – a homework station – where they can complete their work. The important part of a homework station isn’t where it is located or how fancy it looks, just that your children get in the habit of studying at the same time and in the same place. This habit creates a great foundation for productivity in years to come.

Elementary School

In early elementary school children may need supervision while doing homework. Their homework station should be where you can watch from afar

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RESET and get Strength from Structure

reset

It’s September, and some parents refer to this month as the “true new year.” For busy parents of school aged children, it feels like that anyway. Now that everyone is back in school, we parents have a wonderful opportunity to hit RESET on all those routines that may have gone by the wayside during the last couple of months.

  • RESET your wake-up time. Make a habit of waking up at the same time every weekday. Provide your child with an alarm clock (not their cell phone). If they have trouble hearing it, place it across the room. TIP: For those kiddos who want their cell phone in their rooms at night because they like to listen to music – consider the Amazon Dot. It connects to Spotify and other music services but it won’t let your kid Snapchat all night.
  • RESET your morning routine.
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Parents Need a Break During Summer Vacation Too!

summer vacation

For kids, summer vacation is amazing – long days, no school, no homework, few if any responsibilities, playing all day, sleeping in until noon and hanging out until late at night. For parents on the other hand, summer can be far from easy.

Summer vacation means more “work” for parents than the rest of the year. Although you probably booked summer camps in February, there is still a lot to be done. Your schedule can be changing week to week, which may increase everyone’s anxiety levels. If your kids are in day camps, then you might be coordinating rides or chauffeuring

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5 Things Your High School Grad Should Know Before Starting College

You blinked and it happened. Your baby grew up and is leaving for college in a few short weeks. Your child has accomplished so much already and so many exciting opportunities await. As a parent, you may be having mixed feelings about sending your child away to college to live on their own. In your heart, you know your child is ready, but it feels like it was just a moment ago that you were packing their lunch for kindergarten. Your kid will do great. Nevertheless, you can ease your mind by having open and honest conversations about a few key topics which will help your child thrive while away at school.

What to do if they are sick

Your student may need to see a doctor (or possibly go to the ER) or a dentist while at college. If this occurs, they will need to be able to fill out a health history and may need information regarding their immunizations (date of last tetanus shot). They will also need to know how to fill medical

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