School doesn’t start around here until after Labor Day, but I know that isn’t the case everywhere. Some of you are gearing up for back to school already. As a teacher, I know first hand that there is a direct relationship between how organized a child is and how well they do in school. Every day I see kids who are rushing in with no backpack, folder, or snack. Then I see the kids who are prepared, calm, and organized. I know which kid I’d rather be. (And which kid’s mom I’d rather be.) Don’t get me wrong, we have chaotic mornings around here too, but there are a few things I like to have in place to help fight off the craziness and help my kids’ confidence shine.
The Homework Station and Art Cubby
This week I reorganized our art area. My kids like to do their homework at the kitchen table. Our art cubby is on the backside of the kitchen cupboards so it’s the perfect place to store everything they need for special projects, writing assignments, and book reports.
If you haven’t noticed, there are a few school supply sales out there right now. NOW is the BEST time to stock up on school supplies for your home as well as school. I always restock my kids’ home art supplies in the fall, but I also buy enough so that when the markers dry up in February, they are ready to go. Guess what, if you buy them in February they will cost 3 times as much.
I need to say one more thing about homework (and I know that preschoolers and kindergarteners have homework too these days). The kids in my school, as well as my own kids, have a folder that they bring home every day. THAT FOLDER NEEDS TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY! It’s really important and drives teachers CRAZY when kids don’t have their folder. So, have kids put their folders in their backpacks as soon as they are done. Nothing screams, “My parents and I are so disorganized!” like a kid who never shows up to school prepared. (Stepping off my soapbox now.)
Entry Way Organization
That brings me to entryway organization. Very soon, I will be making sure the coats, bags, backpacks, and shoes are ready to go. This is the room the backpacks are hung in. It’s my mini laundry room, turned mudroom, that is right next to the garage door. Making sure my kids’ coats and shoes are organized is a CONSTANT challenge in our house. I really don’t like it when they can’t find the shoes they want in the morning. It just sets the tone for chaos. I find that calm kids are happy kids. Frantic kids who are running around, crazy-upset that they can’t find their grey boots, are not happy kids. We’ll keep working on the concepts of hang up your coat and put your shoes in the cubby.
The coat room is also the place for library books. The brown bag is filled with books ready to go back to the public library. The white bin stays there. It’s for library books we are still reading or haven’t started reading yet. Let me just tell you how devastating it is for a five year old when all of their classmates get to check out library books, but they can’t because they couldn’t find their book before school. Keeping the books in one central place helps kids have less chaos as they are heading out the door for school. Their confidence doesn’t shine when they have their heads hanging down because they are so sad that they forgot their books.
Preschool and grade school teachers send home lots of papers. With two kids in school now, I know I’ll have lots to keep track of. I bought one of those magnetic, stick to the fridge, file holders at Staples. Then I bought five folders and labeled them. I have one for each kid, one for me, one for my hubby, and one that just says Home. That way when I need to know what time my son has football on a particular day, I know the schedule is right there. I also keep classlists, teacher contact info, PE days, and all that good stuff in there.
Home Management Binder
That brings me to my favorite part of my back to school organizing.
My home management notebook has so many wonderful forms and checklists in it. (Hint: You can google just about any form you’re looking for and it pops right up for you to print.) I have dividers for menus, shopping lists, chores, emergency contacts, babysitter information, family birthdays, and much more.
I think I’m well on my way to an organized start to the school year. Then the Holidays will get here and everything will be thrown into a tailspin. Oh well, at least in September and October we’ll be organized. I even organized my junk drawers earlier this week.
What is your best back to school organization tip? Leave your best ideas in the comment section. We can all use all the help we can get!
Also, check out the Healthy Routines Facebook Page to find more ways to get your kids ready for a new school year.
As a member of Clever Girls Collective, I was selected to participate in the Healthy Habits program sponsored by Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #healthyhabits #cgc