Heading back to school without any organization or planning is never a great idea. After-school activities, play dates, and homework tend to take over your world, and soon enough your head will be spinning as you try to keep track of what day it is.Instead of wondering whether or not little Joey put on a clean shirt today, why not implement some organization and routine now, and save yourself from stress later?
Here are three ways you can get your life in order and keep it that way in the coming school year.
"Day of the Week" Drawers
Purchase a set of five plastic drawers for each child in your family. Label each drawer with a day of the school week, and on Sunday, fill the drawers for the entire week. This reduces early-morning arguments over which shirt Susie will wear, and removes the mad rush to find socks that match as you are heading out the door.
Hang Backpack Hooks
Having a set of hooks by the door for the kids to hang their backpacks on is the perfect solution to the nightly search for each person's backpack when it's homework time. Help your children get into the habit of putting their backpack away as soon as they get home each day by reminding them as you walk through the door, and implementing a rewards system for when they remember.
Set Up a Shoe Shelf
Similar to the backpack hooks, a shoe shelf will help your little ones keep track of their shoes. Additionally, it will help keep your floors clean as shoes will be removed at the door and placed on the shelf. The kids will probably need to be reminded at first, but putting their shoes on the shoe shelf will soon be habit and hunting down lost shoes will be a thing of the past.
Family Communication Wall
This is an important tool for any family. Set up a nook in your home for the family communication wall. This wall should include a calendar with every family member's activities, a bulletin board - where lunch money, reading logs, and field trip permission slips can be hung - and a white board for important notes. This will help keep your busy family on the same page.
After-school snack time can be time-consuming, and often you may be busy helping another child with homework or taking care of the baby. By pre-packing after school snacks for the week, you remove all of the work involved in the moment.
To make things even easier, make a snack box for each child. Each snack box should contain the same assortment of snacks so that each child receives the same snacks but still has the freedom to choose what they will eat on any given day. Giving your children a choice will reduce the amount of whining you have to hear.
Get into the habit now of reading in the car. This will make good use of time spent driving to and from extracurricular activities and reduce those dreaded car fights between siblings.
If your kids are too little to read to themselves, try checking out audiobooks from the library. Often these come with a paperback book as well so your children can "read" along. Car reading can count toward reading logs, so that part of your child's homework will be finished before you even make it home!
If you are taking an especially long car trip and the kids get tired of reading, try drilling math facts and spelling words instead. This can help make homework a bit easier and help improve your child's grades as well. To make it more fun, try making it a game with points, or allowing your children to ask you questions as well. These could also be done while waiting for a sibling to finish baseball practice or ballet class.
By using these tips to stay organized as you head into the new school year, you will be better equipped to remain calm and stress-free throughout the year.