One of my employees is having her first baby soon, and we were talking about how her sense of time is not really driven by the school calendar…yet. In just a few years, she’ll be into the fall new year-holiday break-spring end of the year cycle that parents are governed by. Welcome to fall.
In honor of my little one, who is still mastering her times tables, let’s break this one down to a simple equation:
3 tips in 3 categories = 9 Ways to Back to School Organizing Success
This post contains affiliate links for some of my favorite organizing items.
3 Back to School Tips for Kids
- Have a place for them to stow their backpacks and gear, so parents can help remind them to unpack and pack essentials before they are needed.
- Teach them to unpack their backpack every day. My kids have to unpack their lunchboxes before anything else happens in the afternoon. Then they unpack homework and any notes for me. Which leads to…
- Set up a clipboard where kids can place papers that parents need to see and/or sign. This keeps all the school paper limited to one little clipboard, even if you can’t quite deal with it the moment the kids want you to.
3 Back to School Tips for Parents
- Set up a parent binder. While you are buying supplies for your kid, pick up an extra binder and these genius pocket tab dividers for you. Keep all the important papers throughout the year close at hand and easy to find. This year I neatened up my parent binders (one for each kid plus one for our IEP) by putting them in a cute 31 company organizer shown above.
- Display your kid’s art in Dynamic Frames. I love these so much, I can’t even tell you! They should give these to you the first year your kid starts preschool. Watch the video at the link. You’ll fall in love if you’ve never seen these before.
- Take your Back to School pictures in the morning, then send them to be printed at your local photo lab before kids get back from school. Kids rarely get to see their photos in print, and having theirs in hand might encourage them to tell you more about their day and what they were feeling. Think how special they’ll feel that you made a whole book just for them! It doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be valuable to your kids. You only need 20 pictures to make a really great memory in book form.
3 Back to School Tips to Teach Time Management
- Buy them a paper planner. You’ve got your calendar app, but your kids need a way to visualize their days, weeks and months, too. Even young children, from K-third grade, can learn to read a simple family calendar that’s hung up at home. Think they can’t? That’s exactly how your kid’s teacher run their classroom! Starting at about fourth grade, a notebook planner can help kids keep track of activities, manage their own homework, and of course, countdown to important events like winter break. I love the student planner from Order Out Of Chaos, run by my colleague Leslie Josel. The way she’s set up the planners and the site with some great explainer videos for kids, is really valuable.
- Use a TimeTimer. For kids who get lost in their thoughts or favorite activities, having a timer that literally lets them see time evaporating is a game changer. Have them play Beat the Clock to get them out of the house on time.
- Use an old-fashioned wall calendar. That’s right, even techie families can benefit from seeing a full-sized, marked-up wall calendar. Teaching your kids to read and refer to a wall calendar to know what’s going on when, and when family commitments are in conflict with each other, is a useful life skill.
Chances are you’ve heard some of these before. You might have even tried some, and perhaps felt like you failed. Try again. Your kid didn’t nail some task that you always see mentioned in BTS checklists, like laying out their clothes the night before, packing lunches ahead of time, taking out the trash daily? All of these can help you keep things moving in the morning. Just because it didn’t work last year doesn’t mean it won’t work this year. They are a year older now, so try again.