If your kids have been in school now for a year or more, you know that the school year can, at times, feel like a whirlwind of insanity. There are concerts to attend, meetings to attend, after school activities, games, java homework assignments to work on, PTO events, and more. Life can get pretty chaotic, and you may end up feeling exhausted after that long list of to-dos has been completed (or, let’s face it–only half finished). I know how crazy the school year can get. That’s why we do our best to stay organized throughout the school year in order to help life run a little more smoothly. That being said, nothing is ever perfect, and sometimes we get a little off track, but really, the following 5 tips have helped us immensely in reducing the stress that comes with the new school year. Implement them into your life, and see if they make a difference:
- Create a schedule: My kids thrive on a schedule–especially in the morning. If there is a list set out of the things they need to accomplish, they know exactly what they need to do and by what time they need to do it. Not only that, but they are given the responsibility of taking care of themselves without the nagging (hopefully), taking some responsibility off of me and at the same time empowering them. Schedules work well in the evening too, especially if you have after-school activities. Kids tend to fare better when they know what’s going on ahead of time, so let them know in advance what your plans are.
- But be flexible: At the same time, you can’t be too rigid. Sometimes you need some flexibility and some down time. Things may come up, emergencies happen, and sometimes someone forgets a lunch box. If you’re set to a schedule, make sure you give yourself some cushion just in case something comes up. And then if nothing does come up, you can just relax or get that extra chore done that you’ve been putting off.
- Limit screen time: In our house, more screen time tends to mean more attitude. The more we limit screen time the less trouble we seem to have. That being said, it’s okay to let the kids have some screen time. At our house, we like to give the kids their screen time after dinner. That means less fights in the morning, and in the evening the kids know that they need to get homework done before playing on electronics; however, they don’t rush through their homework, because they still have to wait until after dinner.
- Create a work station: While not everyone can give their kids their own desk in their own bedroom (like us–our house is small), it helps to create an area where your kids can work. Ideally, your children should have a quiet place where they can focus on their work. If you have a family like ours, that may not be feasible, but they still need a place to work. Create a space where they can regularly do their schoolwork. Our kids do their homework at the kitchen table. That way, I can help them with their work while make dinner (yay multi-tasking!). Nearby, we have our homework caddies that contain everything they need in order to complete their work. You want to make sure that they can get their work done, but don’t forget that if they ever fall behind on their homework you can look at getting someone to write essay for you if your child ever needs extra help. Then there’s no wandering around with the excuse that they can’t find a pencil or an eraser. You can find instructions on how to make your own here (it’s super cheap and easy!).
- Help your kids get organized: I was always an organized kid, but I’ve discovered that I was not the norm. Your kids may need help staying organized. You may need to help them (especially if they’re younger) make sure their books are in their bookbag and that their homework is in a folder, not shoved down to the bottom of the backpack. It may help to get a planner for your child. I’ve found a few good ones here, here, and here. And if you want to go a step further, sign their planner and have their teachers do the same so you know the work is getting done.
These are just a few ideas that work for us. I hope they help you and your family have a successful school year.
What are some things you do to get organized for the new school year? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.