With school just underway, it's a great time to get the school year off to an organized start. Even though no family is the same and each day is different, there are some solid organizational foundations, when put into place and adjusted as necessary, can make for more tranquil, less harried days for families.
- Use a large monthly calendar that is easily accessible to all members of the family.
- Write all commitments down on the calendar, as far out into the future as you have information. Include: who is picking up and dropping of whom, key homework assignments (projects, book reports, etc.), picture day, extra-curricular, doctor appointments, etc.
- Schedule time on a weekly basis for all family members to review their schedules (including school assignments).
- Gain consensus from everyone that they understand the schedule.
- After reviewing the kids' schedules, parents should talk to reconfirm their roles in the arrangements. Have your planner, laptop with whatever calendar software you use, i.e. Outlook, Lotus Notes, or printed pages of your calendars at hand.
- As a foundation for creating a routine, ask, "What worked last school year and what didn't work?" Even ask, "What worked last week and what isn't working?"
- Come up with some alternative solutions to what didn't work.
- Sit down with your kids and get their input on a viable morning routine.
- Do the same for after school as well. As part of the routine, include taking out clothes to be worn the next day.
- Write it down!
- After implementation of the routine, revisit it in a week to see what's working and what's not and make adjustments
- Set up a place for backpacks and books and school papers to go upon arriving home, other than countertops & floors
- Have a place set up for completed homework to go, so it's ready for school the next day. (Check out IKEA, Target or the Container Store for bins, buckets, baskets, shelves, cubbies, etc.).
- Follow through on making this part of the after school ritual.
Visit our web store and check out our Schoolfolio. This is the time to start putting away school papers, artwork and projects that you plan to keep. The Schoolfolio is perfect for those "keepers."
- Have your child/children review school lunch menus in advance, marking which days they will buy school lunch.
- Create, with your kids, a master lunch menu for days they will be bringing lunch from home. If they bring daily snacks to school, do the same thing.
Note: Be realistic as to how far in advance you can make lunches. If you choose to do it in the morning, right before school, do it, but make sure time built into the morning routine to get it done.
Deciding what to make for lunch or dinner can be more difficult than the actual preparation. It's helpful to plan the menus ahead of time.
- Be consistent in planning, communicating and making the routine...routine.