School is officially in session and you may still be trying to figure out a regular routine again. You’ve had to deal with a lot of planning, prepping, scheduling, and keeping track of . . . stuff. New clothes, school supplies, backpacks, lunch prep, paper, paper, and more paper. As with most things, planning ahead can make a huge difference so here are a few things you can put in place to get ahead of the game and get kids organized for the school year.
Family Systems & Routines
The key factor in setting up systems that will work for your family is simplicity. If you’re always rushed in the morning, don’t meal plan for elaborate breakfasts. If your kids are old enough to pack their own lunches, make a simple lunch prep station. Don’t overcomplicate the systems you put in place or they will never get used.
Family Command Center
The Family Hub, In & Out Station, Command Center, Communication Station, Mission Control — whatever you want to call it, be sure to set up an area to contain family information. You don’t need anything elaborate or Pinterest-worthy, so don’t let beauty hold you up from actually getting a location in place. Make sure you have the following in this area:
- Family Calendar
- In & Out Box for papers, forms, etc. to be dropped off
- Drop-off Zone for Backpacks, Jackets, & Shoes in one place (this might be separate from the family hub so it doesn’t clutter up a common household area)
Does your family have a morning routine? If getting out the door is a daily struggle, implementing a routine can be a game-changer. Keep it simple and consistent. Try to have everyone (parents included!) do things in the same order each day so the kids know what to expect.
If your children are still young, list out the essentials and post it where they can see:
- get dressed
- eat breakfast
- brush teeth & hair
- put lunch & water bottle into backpack
- gather backpack, shoes, & jacket by the door
Some children seem to forget something every. single. day. If that’s your child, make an Out the Door List and post in on the back of the door so they get in the routine of checking it each morning. This includes anything they need to remember, even if it seems obvious to you: backpack, lunch, water bottle, jacket, shoes, seasonal items (hat, mittens, etc.)
The evening routine is often overlooked when kids are heading back to school, but it can be just as important in helping the mornings run smoothly. Simple things like packing backpacks the night before or picking out clothes at bedtime can get the next day started smoothly. Remember that kids thrive on routine so it’s important to try to do similar things each evening including some winddown time before bed.
Meal Planning & Preparation
When it comes to meal planning, make choices that work for your family. If breakfast is always rushed, be sure to have some easy staples on hand. As your kids get older, start including them in some of the meal preparation too. If they’re old enough to pour milk over cereal, that’s a start! Maybe they can’t make their entire lunch, but they can at least grab a few essentials to throw in. Preparing as much food as you can over the weekend or the night before can help the morning run much more smoothly.
How to Display and Organize School Artwork
After you get your family systems & routines in place for going back-to-school, you can expect to soon be overrun with your child’s artwork and papers. A quick Google search will show you endless ways to organize and display the artwork your kids bring home from school so I’ve summarized a few of the most popular ones below. I recommend choosing the one that you will be most likely to keep up with over time.
Display Children’s Artwork
Deciding on a method to organize your child’s article is vital to getting kids organized for the school year. Choose one place for each child to display their current artwork, whether it’s on the fridge, bulletin board, a small easel, or a shelf. Your kids will feel celebrated and you’ll be able to contain the volume because they’ll know what to expect. Projects can remain on display until a new one comes home and then they can be placed into one of the storage systems listed below.
3 Ways to Organize Your Child’s Artwork
- Children’s Art Storage Box
This is the easiest and fastest system for storing children’s art. All you need to do is choose a reasonably sized box and label it with your child’s name and grade level. Once the art has been displayed, it can then be placed in the box for storage. At the end of the year, you can have your child choose the top 5 pieces they want to keep, which can then be transferred to a larger box with the previous years’ collection.
- Children’s Art Filing System
This approach can be stored in a filing cabinet, but it’s nice to have a separate file box for each child so it can be stored in their bedroom or closet. If you use this system, set up hanging files for grade levels and place the artwork in the corresponding file after it has been displayed. Keep the box from overflowing by having your child sort through the pile at the end of the year and choose a select few to save.
- Children’s Art Photo Book
This option sounds and looks impressive, but it’s actually easier than you think. Simply snap digital photos of your kid’s art projects as they come home and at the end of the year, you can drop them all into your photo book program of choice! This system is popular because it allows you to let go of the physical project but keeps the memory intact with a great photo.
Simply thinking about all the preparation that needs to be done on the daily during the school season can be daunting! Are you feeling more mentally prepped for getting your kids organized for the school year? If you don’t have a plan in place and still find yourself struggling, maybe it’s time to work with a professional organizer to help you get some of these systems in place. 😉
Enjoy the rest of summer (fall officially begins Sept 22…MmmMmmm pumpkin spice everything) & happy back-to-school season!
If you missed it or are struggling with your home office, check out Organizing a Home Office Space for Productivity
And because we all struggle with a cluttered inbox, How to Declutter Your Inbox to Increase Your Peace of Mind & Reduce Stress