Classmates at school

Ready for school?

School days ahead

Summer is drawing to a close and it’s almost time for the kids to go back to school. Time to get a handle on schedules, study time, after school activities and everything else that comes with the territory. Get a jump on things by starting the process now to stay organized throughout the school year.

Where to put stuff

Designate a “backpack drop zone” for when kids come home from school. Backpacks should go here when children come through the door. Nothing gets lost because everything gets dropped in the same place each day. As an added benefit, this area will help keep everyone on time for school each morning because they know where all of their stuff is.

A bulletin board or chalkboard can be used as a message station and chore reminder in your drop zone. Using special paint, just about anything can become a chalkboard.

You will no doubt receive a list of school supplies that are necessary for your child. When you are visiting your favorite place for shopping, pick up an extra binder for yourself. Add some binder pocket pages where you can tuck away school papers. Each child should have a section or their own binder.

Another handy item is a blotter style calendar where you can write all of the kids’ schedules in one location. They work better for families than a smart phone calendar app because everyone can see it and write things on it. Once the whole family knows where the calendar is, get them in the habit of writing their own sports, academic or other important dates. Of course, they need to be old enough for that responsibility.

Write down activities on the calendar and then get rid of the paperwork. Either send a signed paper back to school or recycle it once you have marked the calendar. This will reduce paper piles and clutter.

Where to study?

Make sure all of the kids have a quiet place to do their homework. It may be one shared space or individual places, as long as everyone can do their work. The space can be the dining room table with supplies tucked into a cubby or bin and taken out when needed. Consider making the space a “phone free zone” to allow for maximum studying.

Urge kids to get into a routine of doing homework at the same time each evening to build good study habits. If there is no homework, 30 minutes of reading reinforces the routine.

Really want to be on top of things? Add labels to your kids’ hangers in the closet marking the clothing for each day of the coming week.

Lunch foods will be an important part of your grocery list. School lunches can be made the night before to reduce the morning rush.

Get started

Now is the time to get started, before the school year begins. Don’t wait until the last minute to get a system in place. You will have a much more relaxing school year when you keep the kids (and yourself) organized.

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