Ready, Set, Back to School!

Have you ever visited your child’s classroom and been astonished by how organized and capable the kids are at school? Just how does the teacher get them to follow the rules and put things away in an orderly fashion?

Your kids are successful because the teacher sets them up for success. Here’s how:

  • They know where everything lives.
  • They are able to reach coat hangers or storage cubbies.
  • They know the teacher won’t come behind them and do it for them!

Believe it or not, you can create the same kind of structure at home to enable your kids to take ownership of their belongings and school responsibilities. Put the right systems in place, and watch your kids become your biggest helpers. Here are some organization zones and systems you can create at home to get the school year off to a great—and orderly—start.

Backpacks, coats and shoes

Backpacks, coats and shoes are an inevitable part of the school year. Instead of letting them clutter your entryway, family room or dining table, designate a home for them. Hang a rack by your entry door with hooks your children can easily reach. Place a bench under it for shoes. Once they come home, have them drop off their stuff, eat a snack and then empty their bags.

School papers

As soon as the school year begins, the mountains of paperwork take on a life of their own. When your kids remove their schoolwork from their bags, it’s important that it has a home. Place a bin on the wall for each child to drop off papers that need to be signed, homework they want to show you or artwork they may want to keep.

Homework station

It is much easier for students to be successful if they have a designated area to complete their homework. Create a homework station that has all the supplies and books they need to get their work done, including pencils, erasers, a pencil sharpener, paper, dictionary and art supplies. They’ll have everything they need in one place, which means no more excuses for not getting their homework done!

Reading area

Do you wish your child would curl up with a good book more often? You can foster this wonderful—and mandatory—habit by creating a relaxing space in your home for it. Set up an area near the homework station where kids can comfortably read. Have a bookshelf easily accessible that offers a variety of reading materials for them. Remember, the public library offers most of the books your child will ever need.

Toy room

Is your toy room crammed with too many toys? Put some toys aside, and rotate toys every few weeks to keep things fresh for the kids. They’ll ask for their favorites. The ones they don’t miss or forget about? It’s time to pass them along to a friend with younger children, donate them or throw them away if their useful life is over.

Command center

Don’t forget to put some effort into creating a system to manage your family’s hectic schedule. Every household should have a command center equipped with a calendar, menu, chore chart and grocery list. After going through the papers the kids bring home, jot down what needs to be put on the schedule. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple paper calendar color-coded by family member or an online schedule. Find a system that works for you, and stick with it.

If you put in the time and effort to organize your family before the school year begins, you’ll be rewarded with lower stress, happier kids and a less cluttered home.