7 back-to-school planning tips for the school year

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7 back-to-school planning tips for the school year

Nothing is more reminiscent of back to school than a long to-do list, coupled with the excitement of reuniting with your family on a strict schedule. To ease the transition back to school, we’ve got you covered with surefire ways to organize your family and get out there long before the first bell rings!

Organize a drop zone

Set up child hooks or baskets near your entryway for backpacks, jackets, shoes, and any other items that may come loose from their little bodies. This will keep your floors clear, while establishing independent routines so you aren’t stuck picking up tornado pieces after school. This includes designating a spot for water bottles and lunch boxes (if not kept inside their bags), so you can easily detect if they’ve forgotten their Tupperware before they leave. he doesn’t start growing another one.

Address newspapers and artwork daily

The children come home with a lot of paperwork. And while acknowledging their hard work is important, controlling abundance is equally vital. Dedicate a few minutes daily to your children to empty their files and bags. Completed worksheets or assignments can be reviewed and recycled, and work in progress can be taken straight to their desk or kitchen table for completion. Action documents like permission slips or math tests that require a signature can go to your processing area or inbox so nothing important slips through the cracks. Special works of art or sentimental items

can either be displayed, placed in a bin (for mid-term or end-of-year review) or in a portfolio binder where your kids can flip through and admire their art whenever they want. If you’re tech-savvy, Artkive can digitize and organize your kids’ art by age and year, completely freeing you from stacks and guilt!

Preparing a lunch box system

Store a bin in the fridge and pantry where you can distribute snack packets of fruits, vegetables, chips, crackers, etc. for the week. While the “main course” may be limited to a sandwich or some semblance of leftovers, kids can have complete control over which fun snack they choose, as everything is (secretly) pre-approved by you!

Designate a homework station

Whether you’re buying new or salvaging inventory from your home, create a one-stop-shop for all essentials like sharpeners, crayons, scissors, glue, and more. If your kids prefer to do their homework at the kitchen table, make room in a nearby drawer or cupboard for items they’ll need to use or reference. If space is limited, a rolling rack can hold everything they need and can be tucked away anytime for meals or company.

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Prepare the night before

As everyone has to get dressed and ready, mornings can get hectic fast! Prepare as much as you can the night before, such as helping your kids pick out their clothes, making sure their favorite shoes don’t have a colossal knot to untie, and packing backpacks (with everything from a change of clothes to homework, to stuffed animals to show and tell.) Streamline your mornings with simple breakfast options your kids can access on their own, and set specific limits with electronics ahead of time to avoid arguments or meltdowns when it’s time to go!

Establish an After School Routine

We all know what time our kids need to be at the stop or drop off the bus, but what happens when everyone gets home? Maintaining an after-school routine is essential, so everyone knows their role without having to be told or questioned. Sketch times for homework, dinner, playtime, cleaning, bath time, and bedtime. The more aware and in control children feel, the less resistance they will have, so plan a routine around your family’s needs and stick to it!

Keep (and reference) a family calendar

If you’ve ever prepped your kids for school, only to realize it was an “office day” (or another admin-type day off), then you know how important it is to hold a calendar. From birthday parties to school events to “dress like a pirate” day, there’s more to track than our brains can handle. Whether you prefer paper or digital, keep a calendar accessible so you can easily incorporate important events, deadlines, and to-do items. This takes into account everyone’s activities and gives an overview of what’s to come so that there are no surprises the day before, or even worse, the morning of school.

Laura Kinsella is a mom, wife and owner of Urban organization, a professional home organization company based in New York City. Since 2015, she has helped transform hundreds of homes to be more efficient, stylish and meaningful. She’s been featured as a professional organizer on A&E’s Hoarders, and more! She loves color-coded closets, The Container Store, and everything about being a mom minus the glitter.

Jeremy S. McLain