Simplifying College Life

The transition from high school to college brings many exciting changes, such as new friends, unlimited social events and the freedom that many teens crave. But with such freedom comes responsibility, and many teenagers find themselves struggling with this balance within the first few weeks of college.

 Dorm Picture

 

The key to helping teenagers shift from a supportive, structured environment in high school to a mostly unstructured environment is to develop a proactive organizational plan. Although a parent may be tempted to rush out to Bed, Bath and Beyond, armed with 20% off coupons to buy everything their child may need, this strategy is missing a key component – the teenager’s input. To best prepare your teen for the transition, it is vital for parents and teens to intentionally talk through the pending changes and develop a plan and strategy for helping the teen assume these responsibilities.

A comprehensive organizational plan will touch on four areas of a college student’s life: personal care, rest, play and study. From developing valuable time management strategies to implementing practical organizational strategies, discussing these four areas will prepare a teen for any challenges that college may bring.

As you develop the overall plan, here are some quick strategies to simplify and streamline their space.

Personal Care: Avoiding bringing all of your clothes to college. Select versatile pieces for the current season and leave the rest at home. Utilize slimline hangars to maximize hanging space.

Rest: Wake up at the same time every day, regardless of when you have class. This will prevent rushing and give you extra time to complete tasks in your room.

Play: If bringing a TV or video games to your room, coordinate with your roommate so nothing is duplicated. Make sure your furniture also provides extra storage space or pick up a storage ottoman.

Study: Designate daily study hours to prevent procrastination. Use either a paper or digital calendar to remind yourself of both homework and social obligations so that you can plan ahead.

To help your college bound student prepare their own organizational plan, join us for the Organizing for College Lunch and Learn on June 6th. We will share many practical tips and make sure your teenager is well prepared!

 


Getting Organized for Summer Camp

Summer 2013 is right around the corner!  As a child, I went to overnight camp and as an adult, I have worked for several different camping organizations.  I found that being organized helped me create amazing summer camp memories.  If your summer plans involve sending your kids off to an overnight camp, you’ll sleep better at night knowing they’re well prepared for their time away.  Here are some tips to get your campers organized and ready for a great summer!

Summer Camp

Packing


Use the camp’s packing list and know the camp’s dress code.  
The camp checklist (sample checklist: http://www.campparents.org/travellight) is a terrific way to make sure your child will have everything he or she needs during the week away. Print out a copy of the camp’s checklist, and then record how many of each item you send along with your child to camp. Pack this inventoried packing list in your child’s bag so she can use it for packing to come back home, helping ensure no belongings are left behind.  Helpful Hint:  Label EVERYTHING!

Helpful Ideas

Send along a couple of small backpacks or drawstring bags. Fill the first backpack with items like a water bottle, sunscreen, camera, and lip balm and have your child use it for time away from the bunk. Use the second drawstring bag as a “bunktime” bag for nighttime and rest time supplies such as writing and reading supplies, a clipboard, a flashlight, and other nighttime essentials.  Send along a camera and tell your child to hand it over to friends! It will be a great way for your child to remember his/her time at camp and these photos will help you put faces to all the new names you’ll be hearing as your child shares camp stories with you.

Letter Writing TO Camp

Keep in touch. Find out your camp’s policy on keeping in touch with your camper such as via letters, email or phone/text messages. Notes from home make everyone feel better—the camper and mom and dad. Also check to see if your child’s camp will be posting photos of campers on the camp website or a photo sharing site. Seeing photos of your child having fun while they’re away will put your mind at ease, especially if your camp doesn’t allow for direct communication with your camper.  Helpful Hint:  Start sending letters to camp before your child leaves to go to camp.  This way there will be mail waiting for them on the first day!


Letter Writing FROM Camp
Encourage your child to send letters home. Even if letters from camp don’t arrive home until after camp is over, there is nothing like hearing about your child’s camp experience. These letters will be special keepsakes that will remind your child of their week at camp for years and years to come.  Helpful Hint: Pre-address and stamp envelopes to your home address, as well as to other family members.

Post-Camp

Plan something fun for the week after camp. If your child loves camp, coming home could be a big letdown. Have something fun planned for the week after camp such as trips to the pool, beach or a local attraction. This will ease your child’s transition back into life at home.

Camp Resources
Here are some great websites for camp gear and labels:
Camp Outfitters – www.bunkline.com
Camp Search – www.acacamps.org or www.bunk1.com/campsearch
Labels – www.labeldaddy.com
Care Packages – www.eswak.com

Camp can be a wonderful experience for the whole family—especially when you send your child off to camp prepared and organized!

Written By: Jaime Cojac (Simplicity Organizer)