The start of the new school year can be stressful, not only for children, but for us parents too. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make the school year run more smoothly this time around:
1. Set up a system for organizing the kids’ schoolwork to prevent paper piles from building up in your home. Get a stacking basket for each child and store it someplace centrally located where the schoolwork tends to pile up. Be sure to label each basket with your children’s names. When the schoolwork comes home, look through it and recycle what you can that very evening. Anything that might be worth keeping long-term goes into the appropriate basket. At each major break (winter break, spring break, summer break) do a sort to pare it down to only the best of the best and tuck it away in a large bubble mailer, labeled with each child’s name and grade (see this blog post here to understand why I recommend bubble mailers, not file folders.)
2. The paperwork students receive at the beginning of the year (e.g. class list, snow day info, school lunch calendar) can also be stored in the same places as the schoolwork. Simply add another stacking basket and label it “2019-2020 School Paperwork.”
3. Homework needs a spot all its own. For grade school kids, you can get each child his or her own clipboard (there are lots of fun colors and designs to choose from) and mount it to the wall near where homework is done each night. Children can be taught to clip their homework to the clipboard when they get home from school so parents can keep tabs on what needs to be done.
4. For older children, consider where they will work on their homework each evening. Some might want to be near Mom and Dad, perhaps at the dining table or kitchen counter. Older kids will probably want their own desk in a room with a door they can close. It is a good idea to institute a family-wide “quiet time” each evening so kids can do homework without feeling like they are missing out on the fun other family members are having watching TV or playing noisy video games.
5. It’s important to keep track of backpacks, coats, musical instruments, and sports gear. I always recommend designating space for these things near the door where the kids tend to enter and exit the most often. If the family tends to enter and exit through the garage door, carve out space there for belongings and don’t feel guilty about neglecting the hall closet by the front door.
6. Efficient morning routines are essential! Try printing out a list of the morning routine on a piece of paper and framing it behind glass. The kids can use a dry erase marker to check a box next to each task as they finish it. If your children are not readers yet, you can draw simple pictures to indicate each task that needs to be completed.
7. Make preparations for breakfast and lunch on school days a snap. Make space in two areas of your pantry: one shelf for breakfast foods, the other shelf for lunch foods. Store kid-friendly breakfast foods like granola bars and cereal on the breakfast shelf. Store kid-friendly lunch foods on the lunch shelf. This will enable the kids to make their own lunch and breakfast, saving you precious time to get yourself ready each morning.
8. A key to getting out the door on time is the use of a timer. Set a timer to go off 10 minutes before everyone has to head out the door. When everyone hears that timer, they know to finish up their tasks, find their coats and backpacks, get their shoes on and be ready to go. Make sure that timer is LOUD!
9. As soon as you get your children’s school calendar, enter all the important dates for the entire year in your calendar (e.g. late starts, vacations, winter and spring concerts, etc.) so you will not be caught off guard by having no child care lined up on a teacher in-service day.
10. Finally, enter new contacts such as your children’s teachers, coaches and friends into your phone or computer as soon as you receive your kids’ contact list from school.
Like this post? Then like our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram or Pinterest. In need of professional organizing services in the Portland, Beaverton or Lake Oswego area for your home or office? Contact us for a low-cost assessment and get an estimate on your project here.