The beginning of the school year is always an exciting time, but for moms/dads trying to herd a kid or two out the door after a summer of laying around, it can prove to be more exhausting than exciting. If the summer went by in a flash and the school year has crept up on you, you’re not alone...but you’re also not doomed to the same rude awakening your family experiences year after year. Starting now, there are a few steps you can take to help get your family organized and prepared for early days at school and busy afternoons at sports events and dance recitals. Get organized now and save yourself the stress later!
School day mornings can easily be the most stressful time of the day as every member of the family is trying to get ready at exactly the same time. For kids especially who are used to sleeping in until noon, you’ll need to keep everything they need organized and easily accessible or they’re liable to forget it all. Consider installing new shelving in the kids’ bedrooms or in their bathroom, or think about building cubbies for compartmentalized storage. Particularly if you have more than one kid sharing a room it may be time for them to have their own closets to avoid early morning arguments. Also think about removing their closet door and instead using a curtain - kids are more likely to pick up their clothes when it’s easy for them (and when they can see where they belong), and cleaning up dirty clothes the night before leads to an easier time finding clean clothes in the a.m.
Getting Out of the House
Another source of potential tension when getting out of the house is the mudroom or entryway. Without a clear, easy to use organizational system, school materials can end up scattered around the house, forcing kids to run around collecting them frantically before they miss the bus. Instead of suffering through this daily, why not set up a better system that everyone in the house can use? Take the doors off an armoire and install hooks on the back for easy jacket and coat storage, and use the drawers below for bags and shoes. Or, install a built-in shelving unit, with a tall section for hanging coats and cabinets above and below for winter weather gear and bags. Create one section for each family member and label accordingly. Use a blank space on the wall to buy a dry erase calendar or, better yet, paint a magnetic chalkboard and use chalkboard markers to draw a calendar section. That way, you can keep track of who needs to be where, until when.
One of the easiest things to lose track of are forms that need signed. With so many places along the way that they can get lost, make sure you have a dedicated space for them at home. An easy DIY project to keep them organized is to install hooks and hang labeled clipboards along the wall in the mudroom, one for each family member. Kids clip unsigned forms to mom’s/dad’s clipboard so parents know to sign them; signed forms get clipped to the child’s board so they can be packed in a backpack right before leaving for school. No more crumpled forms, forgotten on the floor of a bedroom.
Getting Stuff Done
Finally, after an overwhelming day at school, kids need to have a place to come home and find renewed focus for homework and projects. Rather than letting their work take over the dining room table as you’re preparing dinner, help them set up a calm, secluded workspace in an office or their room. Install shelves above their desk for extra school supplies and textbooks; include some extra drawers or cubbies underneath or around their desk for bigger items like their backpacks, files for completed assignments, and even a printer. Use focused lighting to highlight the desktop while they’re working that can also be turned off when they’re not (the visual cues help with focus), such as recessed lighting underneath the above shelves or a floor lamp instead of the ceiling light. Keeping their work area organized will help them complete all their assignments on time and better prepare for the next day, saving you the headache and stress of a rushed, frantic morning. Get organized and kick off a good school year now!