With only a few weeks left before school starts, it’s time to start preparing for the new school year. Starting the year off with an organizational plan will definitely get your whole family off to a great start. This means less stress, calmer mornings, efficient evenings, and less tardiness. Get the whole family on the same page so your school day routines will be even better. We’ve got some A+ shortcuts to getting organized!
1. Prep for the next day the night before
This eliminates a lot of the “where is…” and “what should I…” questions that can make a morning frantic. Clothes and accessories should be laid out and ready to wear. Backpacks should have everything needed for the next day, including homework that is due and forms that have been filled out. Devices should be charging overnight, ready to unplug and put in their backpack. Prep their lunch as well.
2. Use a checklist
Having a checklist lets your child see what they need to do, whether it’s homework or chores. Use a dedicated notepad or an app, and help your child create checklists on Sunday so they can see what they need to do that week. Checking off list items as they complete them will give them a sense of accomplishment, while letting you see what they may still need help with.
3. Keep a big calendar
While older kids may prefer a digital calendar to keep track of their schedules, younger kids generally do better with an old-school calendar. Get a large, dry-erase calendar and place it in a well-used area, such as the kitchen or the kids’ homework area. This way the whole family sees it often and it’s an excellent way to stay on top of everything when you can see the weeks and the month at a glance. Put in all major events, whether it’s sports practice, violin lessons, carpooling, a big math test, grandma’s visit, or a family outing. Using a different color for each family member is very helpful.
4. Set up a filing system for homework
So much paper! Keep it from becoming a pile by creating a filing system for your kiddo so they can keep track of and organize all the paperwork that school entails. Have separate files for homework that needs to be turned in, research work, larger projects, forms, etc.—customize the labels according to your child’s grade and needs.
5. Have a designated study time and space
A designated space with the least amount of distractions is incredibly helpful to your child’s school success. Have them study in the same space each day, where they have easy access to necessary supplies. If they need monitoring or a lot of guidance, set up this study space where you can be close by, such as your home office or kitchen.
6. Streamline the morning bathroom routine
Organize the kids’ bathroom so their morning routine is quick and easy. Store their toiletries in the top drawer or a countertop bin so they have easy, quick access to it. Multiple kids in one bathroom? Create a labeled bin for each kiddo.
7. Use an alarm clock for time reminders
An alarm clock with multiple alarms and sounds is a great way to “hear” reminders. Set it to ring at strategic intervals, such as 45 minutes before the bus comes, then 15 minutes, then finally, 5 minutes. At the 15 minute alarm they should be taking the last few bites of breakfast, getting their shoes on, and grabbing their backpack and lunch bag. At 5 minutes, it’s time to head out the door!
8. Use that label maker like crazy
Have you seen the “Lost & Found” closet at your child’s school? Kids have so much to keep track of, it’s not surprising if they lose something at times. Help it get back to you by labeling everything you can, from their water bottle to their lunch bag to their binder to their coat. This custom clothing label stamp is so cool; use your child’s first initial and last name, plus your phone number.
9. Keep extracurricular uniforms and equipment in one spot
Practices and game/performance days will be less frenzied if everyone knows where their stuff is. Have specific bins, whether you keep them in the garage, laundry room, mud room, or kids’ rooms, and use these to store their uniforms, accessories, and equipment. If it’s the same equipment each time, such as bats/cleats/helmets/balls, keep it in a bin or duffle in your car trunk.
10. Clean out backpacks and reset study areas every 3-day weekend
Most school schedules have a no-school day at least once a month. Use this extra time to get caught up on the clutter so it doesn’t get overwhelming. Clean out your kids’ backpacks and reset their study areas, and it’ll be a monthly fresh start.
We hope you’ll try three or more of these shortcuts for this school year. They aren’t that hard, and if you succeed with the first set of shortcuts, you could add even more on.