It’s time to send kids back to school. For students and parents alike, these organizing tips can make the difference between having a successful school year or not. With many changes, pandemic accommodations to keep everyone safe, yet still facing uncertainty now is a great time to create more safety and certainty. So, now is a great time to tighten up your home systems, spaces, and habits to help make this year a success for your kids!
Back To School Strategy #1 – Set Guidelines and Ground Rules
Guidelines are like the ground rules for any game. To make sure you have agreements, establish family ground rules to support a daily routine: bedtime, homework rules, television watching, computer time, and socializing. Establishing expectations at the beginning of the school year communicates the parent’s priorities and commitment to a child’s school success from the start. For ideas on how to do this, Check out Brene’ Brown’s Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto from her book Daring Greatly.
Create A Launching Pad
Establish a ZONE for the daily backpack pickup/drop close to the door where your child enters and exits each day. After mom has processed the papers that need to go back to school, she can then return them to this zone for the kids to return to their backpacks. This simple strategy will greatly ease the morning rush.
For Back To School, Find A Family Calendar To Fit Your Specific Needs
Introducing a Family Calendar and weekly planning meeting completely changed our lives when our kids were young. And the sooner you teach your kids time management, the better!
Whether you use a refrigerator magnet calendar divided by days of the week, a chalkboard, or whiteboard you can write on, or support your family with an online calendar, pick something that fits your family’s needs. Then on Sunday each week, have the kids update their school and extra activities on the whiteboard, so everyone knows what to expect and when.
Create A Paper Processing Center
If you don’t yet have one, create an area where kids deposit papers that need your action or attention. Call this your Paper Processing Center. Successful systems can be made from hanging files, an inbox/outbox, refrigerator magnets or clips. The point is to create an area where you will notice items. Instruct your children to always place papers for review there. Completed paper is best placed directly into the backpack for return to school.
Create A Space For Homework
A homework space should help kids concentrate and focus. Also provide adequate lighting, reduced noise, space to spread out, privacy, and adequate supplies the kids can manage. Because of different learning modalities, some kids will prefer the quietude of a bedroom escape, while others need to be in the middle of the family action. Allow your child an adequate space where he feels most comfortable and productive.
Mimic Classroom Organization
Another successful back-to-school organizing tip is to mimic how kids are organized at school. Learn from the pros! Tour your child’s classroom during the back-to-school night and see what you can learn to help you establish at-home systems to help your child stay organized.
Redundancy helps children develop organizational skills at an early age. Accordion folders or binders with pocket folders labeled for each class can be an easy organizer system. Once your child is old enough to use a locker at school, equip him/her with accessories to categorize by color to make items easy to find.
Back To School Chore Chart
Establish an age-appropriate chore routine to keep your children engaged and accountable to the family. One great way to encourage chores to get done is to gamify them. (Games are especially helpful if your child has ADHD.) Think of creative ways to help gamify tasks so kids have fun while doing their chores.
When everyone pitches in, the household runs smoothly, and we have time for fun family activities. Establish these simple yet powerful routines and you and your children will be on the road to school year success.
Build In Quiet Time and No Screen Time Regularly
Today, many school children are overscheduled and stressed. Additionally, most kids gravitate toward the nearest screen any time they are idle. To avoid too much stimulation, avoid over-scheduled kids. At back to school time, kids are tempted to get overly involved. But don’t overload children with extra-curricular activities.
Instead, find a balance of academics, activities and downtime is necessary for academic success and mental health. Make every effort to have dinner together as a family and avoid outside activities that distract from this important family ritual. And develop your own family rules around screens. I pass around a big bowl, and ask all dinner guests to deposit their devices in the bowl before we begin our meal. This way we avoid distractions, and we all stay present.
Here are more home organizing strategies to help your kids have back-to-school success.