By Joyce Wilson
It’s back to school time again, and your kids are either ecstatic to see their friends again in a few short weeks or developing end-of-summer gloom and doom. For parents,back to school means trying to get your kids excited about getting back in the groove, hoping they get the teacher they want, and getting everything organized for a seamless transition back to the classroom. Back to school organization can quickly leave any parent frazzled, but these organizational hacks will help you prepare for the new school year while maintaining your sanity.
Start Settling into the Back to School Routine Weeks Ahead of Time
If your kids have had the luxury of sleeping in all summer, that early morning alarm is going to be an unpleasant addition to their morning routine. To avoid groggy kids in the first few weeks of school, you’ll want to establish your back to school routine early and start practicing it a week or two before the first day of school.
Make sure that you get your kids in the habit of going to bed at a reasonable time and getting up in time to eat breakfast and brush their teeth – and don’t forget flossing. Staying healthy and fueling their bodies with a healthy breakfast are important to help them stay alert and focused during the school day.
Another great way to settle into the school routine is to incorporate some hands-on learning into your end of summer fun. Learn about chemistry and physics on a trip to the pool, get your kids involved in creating the back-to-school shopping budget, and/or go on a nature walk at a local park. These are fun ways to help your kids transition from summer vacation mode back into school mode.
Designate a Spot for Messages and Papers
The start of a new school year means that an onslaught of papers, notices, memos, and other documents are headed your way. Before it’s time to unload backpacks on the first day of school, dedicate a space to post important messages, reminders, and other school-related papers. Use a corkboard or even an oil drain pan (washed prior to use) with magnets for a simple, DIY memo board.
You might also equip this space with small containers with magnets or push pins to easily tack on new messages, or a few markers in different colors to mark appointments on a master calendar or white board.
Create a Dedicated Homework Station
Creating a dedicated space equipped with all the supplies your kids will need to do their nightly homework will help to ensure that they keep up with their work. Ideally, the space should be used exclusively for homework, but if your home lacks enough space for a homework-exclusive area, set aside a corner of your family room or a small area in your child’s bedroom for homework.
Equip the space with supplies such as rulers, pencils, a pencil sharpener, erasers, notebooks and loose paper, and anything else your children need for school this year. Doubling up on supplies for at home means your kids will be lugging fewer supplies back and forth each day, lightening their backpack load a bit.
De-Clutter Bedroom Closets
Closet organization may seem as though it has little to do with saving your sanity when it comes to back to school prep, but when you think about how many minutes your kids can waste in the mornings trying to find just the right top to wear with their pants, you’ll welcome this tactic. Organize your kids’ closets in such a way that it’s easy for them to match up outfits for the day.
Because every child has different tastes and styles, and every school potentially a different dress code, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. Think about your child’s normal morning routine and identify the biggest challenges when it comes to getting dressed; doing so will help you determine the best way to organize your child’s closet to save you both time and sanity this school year.
Heading back to school at the start of another school year is often a nerve-wracking experience for kids at all ages. They may worry about whether their best friend will share the same homeroom, if the class bully has gotten nicer over the summer, and whether their new school clothes are up to par with the latest fashion trends. While you can’t control many of these factors, you can take steps to help your kids (and you) get more organized for the start of the school year and reduce additional stress that comes from feeling unprepared.
About the Author
Joyce Wilson loved being a teacher, and though she has recently retired, she hasn’t lost that passion. She continues to educate (and help educators) by mentoring teachers in her area. She is also the co-creator of TeacherSpark.org, a resource for teachers to gather fun, engaging lesson ideas and activities.
In the video below, parenting expert Ericka Souter shares her top tips for helping parents and children get physically and emotionally ready for this upcoming school year.
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