Handling Kindergarten Paperwork
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Remember those Three R's: reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic? Well, parents, now that your child is starting kindergarten, get ready to add a special "P" to the list: Paperwork! This year, there will be a lot to manage. Before school even slides into session, a small mountain of forms and doctor's notes are required. But (sorry for the bad news), it doesn't end with registration. Get ready for paper extravaganzas constantly through the year—field trip forms, immunization record updates, and on and on. This doesn’t even include the piles of drawings, worksheets, and beloved crafts your child will present to you between now and June.
Put it all together and you may feel like your household alone is consuming at least a small forest. How can you avoid getting buried in the process? Here’s some practical advice from Lori Krolik, a professional organizer, and owner of More Time for You in Palo Alto, California, and Standolyn Robertson, Massachusetts-based president of the National Association for Professional Organizers.
Between them, Robertson and Krolik have decades of experience in the organizing field, but both are quick to point out that among their highest credentials is the fact that they have survived parenting kids through kindergarten. Here’s their expert advice on how to keep the chaos in order, during this crucial first year of school:
1. Centralize your key information. School forms always seem to ask for some address or phone number you’ve misplaced. Rather than run around each time, says Krolik, try making a master list of all the core information those forms usually require. Krolik’s checklist includes:
- Doctor’s name, address, phone.
- Dentist’s name, address, phone.
- Medical Insurance policy number, subscriber name, and subscriber ID
- Auto Insurance policy number, subscriber name, and coverage amounts (for field trip driving)
- Your work information (address, phone)
- Spouse's work information (address, phone)
- Name, address, phone of emergency contacts
Krolik advises parents to keep a copy of a child’s immunization record filed with this list. Keep it all together, says Krolik, and “you’re not scrambling around collecting bits of information as you're trying to enjoy the last days of summer.” And, as the year passes, you have everything at your fingertips when it’s time for field trip forms, summer camp registration, or whatever else comes your way.
2. Make friends with the copy machine. Especially if you have more than one child, you’ll find that forms can mulitiply exponentially. Often, says Krolik, you can use a convenient shortcut: fill in your home address and other shared information on one page, the first time you get the form, then Xerox it and add each child’s specific name. Presto! You’ve saved time that you can use for happier pursuits, like talking to your kid, or having a nice snack together.