So you have the list of supplies, the 20 forms to fill out for each kiddo and First Day of School outfits picked up. WHEW! Now to get it all sorted, filed, labeled and put away… How intimidating!
Don’t let back to school take all of your energy. If you start right away with the following tips, and follow through the daily routines, you can do this. The main things to do are to establish a routine, and organize.
Make a School Binder
I am a huge fan of binders. They keep everything we need at our fingertips. They don’t need to be fancy, in fact, I prefer keeping them very plain and simple with less fuss to distract and overwhelm me. However, if you have the time and energy to make it pretty, do so! Many websites and blogs have colorful pre-printed pages you can use. This is how I made mine- it works from pre-school through high school.
First section should be a master calendar for each month. Here go through the school calendars and write in days off, half days, special dress up days, etc… Then in a different color (I used a different color for each kiddo) write in the out of school activities, doctor appointments and such. Then:
Create one section in the binder for EACH child (or school if they are in the same school). In each section, include:
*The school calendar
*The child’s teacher and class information
*The school’s information packet with school contacts and rules, such as who to call in case of illness
*activity schedules (soccer, swim lessons, etc.)
In the front of your binder, make a list of who can drop off or pick up your children in case you are not able to do so (ask the parents of your child’s best friends also). Make sure the schools know that these people are allowed to pick up your children. Also, find out if there is a carpool that you could join.
**Bonus tip: keep a large envelope in the binder for any receipts for purchases you may share with another parent and record on the front what each expense is for.
There’s one pile sorted!
Establish a Few Routines
I kept a mostly similar routine for my kiddos as they grew up, that way they know the expectations you have of them and will be able to independently follow through as they get older. Routines don’t have to be over-involved, but they should be clear and state exactly what is expected. For younger children, you can use a photo schedule depicting what they should do next.
Many articles will show you fancy work areas or “homework zones,” but I found the kitchen table to be the best place for studying as I usually was making supper while they were working and could be available for help. As long as you have a drawer or container of pens and pencils, and the kiddos know where their crayons are, you don’t need to get crazy and waste energy over preparing.
After School Routine
Have the kiddos bring their backpacks to the table as they come in the door.
Each child (who has one) should put their daily planner (or homework notebook) at their place at the table.
While they are having a snack or break, look over the planners and see if there are things you need to do, such as signing field trip forms, or assembling items for big projects coming up.
After their snack, have them come to the table to do their work. (I’m the “mean mom” who made them study spelling words or something else for a period of time if they didn’t have actual “homework.”)
Have them look through folders for any unnecessary papers or forms you may need to see.
When they are finished, they should repack their bags and put them near the door.
Look to make sure everyone’s coats, jackets and backpacks are located together.
Make sure clothes are ready for the next day. (This helps avoid the early morning, “MOM, WHERE’S MY FAVORITE SHIRT?” panic.)
If you do sack lunches, have the children prepare the non-refrigerated items.
Make sure the kiddos have an expected “quiet time” for a bit before lights out. That way the six drinks of water and “one more story” drama is pretty well finished before they are expected to sleep.
Create a morning routine that works for you. Ours included: get up, get dressed, brush hair and teeth, get breakfast, out the door. Make use of dry erase checklists for the little ones.
Many of these routines and checklists can be found on our Spoonies For Life Pinterest board, “Back to School for Spoonies”, as well as many more ideas for organizing and preparing on-the-go meals to make breakfast and lunch preparation a breeze!
CLICK LINK BUTTON TO VISIT OUR PINTEREST PAGE!
Also, watch our webshow Spoonie Space episode “Back to School”