As parents, we make ourselves the same promise every August – “This school year, we’re going to stay organized!” But by the end of September, we’re accidentally tossing homework assignments, leaving uniforms in the wash on game day, and forgetting every parent/teacher conference on the schedule.
To prevent your back-to-school vow from hitting the skids just a few weeks in, here are five ways to put your hope for an organized life into action!
- Arrange a homework center. In the middle of a stressful homework session, no kid wants to dig around the junk drawer for pens and pencils. Set up an area of your home dedicated to schoolwork. Add a shelf for paper and pads. Affix a labeled shoe organizer to the wall or back of a closet door and separate color pencils, markers and other supplies by category. A vintage sugar mold is a simple tabletop organizer for rulers, glue sticks and other necessities.
- Be on top of dates. The PTA meetings, the class birthday parties, the school fundraisers – they can all become overwhelming. To be sure you don’t miss one, create a filing system to organize the endless papers your kids bring home. For instance, have a file for Permission Slips, School Projects, etc. and place the due date on each one with a Post-It. To be sure your kids and partner are in the loop, download a family organizer app like Cozi to mark due dates and the person in charge. Then set reminders so you’re never racing to Walmart at 6 a.m. to snag snacks for your child’s holiday party.
- Create a convenience store at home. Help your kids pack their own healthy lunches and snacks by filling one “kids-only” refrigerator shelf or drawer with ready-to-go items like boxed juices, cut-up vegetables, low-fat cheeses and meats, and wraps. On weekends, package up single-portion bags of crackers, granola or other shelf-durable snacks and place in an easy-to-grab basket for the rest of the week.
- Don’t wait for the mornings. As soon as your child gets home from sports practice, wash her uniform and slip it back into her bag once dry. Pack up book bags and lunchboxes at night, not in the morning. And have a designated space for shoes, jackets and scarves. Every minute you don’t have to hunt for things in the a.m. is one more minute you can relax before heading out the door for the day.
- Ease the daily routine. Kids thrive on schedule, but aren’t the best at remembering things. Create a morning checklist that you can place near your front door. A laminated list or chalkboard allows her to write down her weekly reminders – like remembering her lunch on Tuesday or her gym shoes on Wednesday – and add random reminders as needed, such as remembering her science project.
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