Back to school can be a strenuous change of pace for most households. Once the lazy days of lounging by the pool, sleeping in and not having a schedule abruptly change into the back to school routine, it can be hard on many families and mom in particular. The stress of this new routine can bring about chaos and confusion. Parents find themselves in a state of constant frustration as they try to make getting to school easier. The good news is that there are several tips that can help you get a grip on things, so that it doesn’t take weeks to gain your footings. Here are some back to school organization tips-
Start early-As hard it can be to envision back to school while the summer days are still ahead of you, it can pay off to begin planning early. Shopping for school clothes and supplies can be done weeks ahead of school, to prevent a last minute rush. Planning with your child about the first day of school outfit, back pack and even what they will be doing for lunch, can all prevent last minute frustration and contention. Finally, hard as it may be trying to get your child back onto some sort of schedule, the week before school starts can go a long way toward making the transition easier for everyone.
Make a to do list-Once back to school has begun it can help to have a list for everyone. There is a wide variety of ways to do this. Some moms choose to have a master list that everyone works off, while others find it works better to hand a personalized list to every child. You can color code, use calendars, electronic devices, just find whatever works best for you and your family. Don’t be afraid to list the obvious (brush teeth, comb hair etc), since some kids need this kind of prompting. Once everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, try to resist the urge to nag. Simply give out praise (and possibly rewards), to those family members who are completing their list, and the slackers will soon catch on.
Organize your entryway, mudroom or garage entrance-Wherever everyone comes into the house, is where you are most likely to find their stuff. Make sure that wherever this space is in your house, that every family member knows that is where books, backpacks, jackets for school, or anything else that you need, should end up. In order to prevent a jumbled mess, hang up hooks, provide bins or drawers, or whatever other organizational tools this space needs to be functional. This helps to prevent the morning question of “Where is my ________?” This also provides a great space, for parents to check out homework needs, sign forms and retrieve empty lunch bags.
Start the night before-With the exhaustion of the day setting in, too many times parents give into the “we’ll take care of it in the morning” trap. This only leads to further confusion and chaos as everyone is trying to get out the door. Summon the family together and make a pact that all backpacks, lunches and all other supplies will be packed the night before. Get your kids into the routine of choosing their school outfit the night before, and laying it out where they can see it. This helps to prevent morning dawdlers who are indecisive about to wear or who want the red shirt that is in the laundry. While it may take giving up a little relaxation or even sleep, you’ll be glad you did this in the morning.