The back to school shuffle can throw anyone’s schedule and sense of normality into a frenzy. Although creating morning routines and schedules - and easing into them a week or so before school - are great ways to prepare, they tend to be highly personalized to each family and household. But fear not! Here are some ideas and tips that can help make your transition to the new school year a bit more seamless.
1. Streamline Your Entryway
Establishing a spot in your entryway for everything your kids need to get out the door is a great way to get organized. Not only does it keep everything in one spot to grab as you head out, it helps keep down clutter at the end of the day. Ideally you will want to create a spot to hang backpacks, coats, and lunchboxes. If space allows, using a bench and having a spot for shoes can really help cut down on clutter, time and the effort it takes to get the kids out the door each morning.
2. Create a Shared School Calendar
We are 100% in the digital age and many of us rely on our technology to schedule our weeks. Once your schools have published their academic calendar, look it over and add any important dates to your phone’s calendar app. It often helps to create a new calendar and color-code it so you can see exactly what you need at a quick glance. Don’t forget to share the calendar with anyone else that helps you or your kids during the school year.
Pro Tip: Schedule notifications for the Sunday before the dates of picture days, early dismissals, and non-school days to keep you prepared.
3. Sort Through Clothing
Without a doubt, your kid(s) have outgrown some of their clothing this summer. They’ve likely stained and worn out a few items as well. Before you go out a buy new items for the school year, sort through their closets and drawers to pull out what’s no longer useful. This will help make space for new items and allow you to take inventory of items that are needed.
4. Use Pantry Organizers in the Fridge
Plastic organizers are a massive help in the pantry, but you can also put them to great use inside your fridge. It’s a great way to organize the various items you’ll add to daily lunches - cheese sticks, yogurts, etc.. This is also an easy way to separate these items to create a “don’t touch” area to help minimize those times when you try to pack a lunch and have magically run out of something.
5. Create An After School Routine Clock
The time after school can be a vacuum where plans seem to vanish and order turns to a chaotic free-for-all. Look over your after-school activities and evaluate how your family best operates in the afternoons. You’ll need to use a mechanical clock that you can take apart and replace the face. Once you have your clock apart, create a color coded face with each color representing a segmented time for a specific activity. If homework is something that is routinely assigned, make a segment of time just for that. If there’s no homework, keep the routine by making it a reading time. Other segments to consider are free time, dinner prep, prepping for the following day, and bedtime.
6. Designate Homework Stations
If your home does not have the space to create a permanent desk for your kid(s) to do their homework at, then consider making a modular solution that can be setup anywhere - but creating a go-to spot would also be preferred to create a consistent environment. . Most of the time you’ll just need the basics like a flat surface for writing and a container for utensils. Gather the supplies your child will commonly need, then organize those things in something like a desk organizer. Keeping everything organized in containers will help your family set up and remove the work station with ease.
7. Save Time By Meal Prepping
Use the weekend to your advantage and meal prep on Sundays. Having everything (or mostly everything) ready will help make the evenings a breeze. Additionally, having most of the meals prepped can make asking for help and adding dinner prep to a chore chart a lot less daunting for your family. You can apply this for school lunches as well.
8. Create a Supply Stash
What should you do with all the extra supplies that don’t need to go to school? Don’t put them in your kids’ craft area. You’ll likely need these supplies at some point in the school year and having them on-hand will save unplanned trips to the store for the random glue stick. Use an organization system that separates the supplies by type or by child and store them in a place that is out of the way.
9. Get Ready for First Day Photos
We all love first day photos. They’re a great way to commemorate a new stage of your child’s journey. Now is the perfect time to start scouring Pinterest for inspiration and start preparing any signs, props, hair styles, or anything else you would like to feature.
10. Organize Lunch Boxes
Have you ever made your child’s lunch only to realize the lid for a very specific container has gone missing? I think we’ve all been there to some extent. Create an organization system that is specifically designed for lunch boxes and containers. Yes, it’s taking away some of your pantry or cabinet space, but having everything separated (that is, not with all the other reusable containers) will make those “off” mornings a lot easier.