It’s back to school time, our friends at Right@Home have included some of my tips in this terrific article on how to get back to school organized. Check it out…
Going back to school (or work) after the lazy days of summer can be challenging even for the best of us. Professional organizer Monica Friel admits the deluge of back-to-school paperwork and mail can feel overwhelming even to her.”It’s hard for me to keep up with it all,” said Friel, a mother of three children. “I can imagine what chaos can ensue when there aren’t systems in place.”But don’t worry. Right@Home™ is here to help. We consulted not only Friel, who owns and operates Chaos to Order™, but a collection of other moms who shared their tried-and-true secrets for mastering the fall frenzy.
Take time to transition
Don’t let the school year sneak up on you. When you’re scheduling your last summer vacation, use one of those days off work to get your house in order for what’s ahead.
Bump up bedtime
Beginning in early August, Cindy Richards, editor of TravelingMom.com, moves up her kids’ bedtimes by 15 minutes a night and wakes them up earlier as well.
Set up a storage system
Clean your coat closet or streamline your mudroom to create space for the kids (not you) to store their backpacks, jackets, sports and music equipment, and other back-to-school gear. It’s important for everything to have its place.
Plan for the paperwork
Friel suggests creating one file per child to keep important papers as well as artwork. During holiday breaks, go through the folder with your child and keep what’s necessary. At the end of the year, put the file in a keepsake box with room for the years ahead.
Organize the school supplies/work station
Richards and her kids take inventory of last year’s school supplies to see what can be used for the upcoming school year. They’ll recycle old notebooks but keep any unused pages as scratch paper. Then new and old supplies are kept in a storage space near where the children do their homework.
Be a digital diva
Use today’s technology to your advantage. Input all important dates, sporting events and club meetings onto a compatible calendar (try Google Calendar, iCal or iCloud), and sync your phones and computers so everyone can see the same schedule. Friel also creates a digital photo album for each child.
Communicate with the kids
To make sure everyone knows that day’s schedule, Friel writes it on a dry-erase board placed near the kids’ coats and gear.
Get the kids in the habit of hanging their coats, organizing their backpacks and homework, and putting stuff away. “As parents we’re so in the mode of doing it for them,” Friel said, but it’s important for kids to take responsibility.“I tell them my job is to work my way out of a job,” she said, adding that she recently de-stressed her morning routine by no longer telling her son to get up for school and letting him get up on his own.
Enlist weekend help
Encourage responsibility into the weekend by making chores fun. Friel recommends checking out free interactive chore charts on goalforit.com,or writing chores on ping-pong balls or popsicle sticks and letting kids choose a ball or stick to determine their chore. Back to school is a great time to put new routines in place, she noted.
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