Back to School Index Card
There is nothing complicated about the back to school index card, but that does not mean it’s any less of a game changer for me. This practical solution has saved me time, stress, embarrassment, and procrastination-related shame. When using it in public, I also score some major organized mama points. Simply put, it is a basic index card with emergency contacts, health insurance information, and the name & number of our pediatrician. Instead of gathering all of the necessary information each time I fill out a form, I now only gather and fill one of these out a year. I bring the index card with me to meet the teacher/back to school night and keep it in a drawer the rest of the year.
Back to School
I want to say we fill out at least 10 forms each child, but that may be a slight exaggeration. Perhaps one day the main office, school nurse, district, and my children’s teachers could just photocopy the same all-inclusive form so I can actually meet the teachers. For now, I’ll just carry this index card around.
I started using this solution last year after:
a.) being the last parent to finish all of that paperwork at the “meet the teacher” event one too many times and
b.) failing to even finish the forms for my last one because I was both late and my phone (along with all contacts) died right in the middle of it.
I knew there had to be an easier way that didn’t rely on the quiet and calm behavior of my kids, charged electronics, my ability to very quickly look back and forth in several places for information, or the likelihood that I would fill paperwork out at home. When did the schools start asking for our health insurance ID number anyway?
Permission Slips & Other Parental Homework
I used the index card throughout the year as well. Unfortunately, my ADHD certainly showed its ugly self here through procrastination and unpleasant task avoidance. I was often one of the moms that turned our 2-3 page permission slips in on the last possible day. This happened mainly out of a subconscious dread of the time and effort it would take to gather the required information. On a few occasions, it also involved not knowing where my checkbook was or (once) having run out of checks, but that’s another story. Having one convenient spot for all relevant information has actually cut down on permission slip procrastination significantly. I no longer dread filling the forms out, so I rarely put it off.
Our school requires that we have up to 3 emergency contacts, depending on the form. I also like to include relatives that don’t live in the neighborhood, but should be called in case of a real emergency. This important information makes the index card valuable for home use as well. I’m currently using it as an emergency contact list for family, babysitters, and petsitters. And in case of an emergency, my children will be able to use it or hand it over to the appropriate authorities.
What to Include & Where to Use It
Of course the information needed will vary according to your unique needs, but I include 3 emergency contacts from the neighborhood, grandparents, our pediatrician, and health insurance information. You may also need to include information you don’t yet know by heart because they are new to you (such as a new address, home phone, or cell numbers).
Other places to use or keep these cards might include:
- Medical appointments
- Your child’s backpack (especially if he/she doesn’t go home right after school)
- In your purse or car (including blood type and other relevant medical information needed in case you are incapacitated)
I feel compelled to mention, however, that I would never recommend writing essay more personal information down anywhere. You don’t want a stranger to get a hold of private medical history or other sensitive information such as social security or bank numbers in case you misplace it. You would be better off just leaving the spaces blank and facing the annoyance of the doctor’s receptionist.
Any index card will do, but I’ve created a couple of printable versions for you below: