Sunday, August 9, 2009

Get Organized for Back to School Time

At back to school time, it is just as important for parents to organize their own responsibilities as it is for them to get their children ready.

Here are some tips to help you minimize headaches at this busy time of year.

Starting at the beginning of August:

1) Schedule any doctor’s appointments your child needs.
2) Determine any before or after-school care you may need & make the proper arrangements.
3) Designate a “school information area” in your house where you can keep announcements, trip slips and correspondence. This is also a great place to post a family calendar so all family members know what to expect in the upcoming days.
4) Transfer all information from your child’s school calendar onto the family calendar so everything is in one place. You’ll avoid double–booking appointments & activities. Try using one colour for each child.
5) Find a location where your children can do their homework without being sidetracked.
6) Designate a “drop area” where each family member can store backpacks, coats, lunch boxes, laptops, shoes etc. Use hooks, cubbies, tables or a chest of drawers to organize items in this area. Whether this area is near the doorway or in a mudroom, it will prevent kids from throwing everything in a pile when they walk in the door.
7) Shop for back to school clothes.
8) Help your children’s bodies adjust to their new schedule by setting & following bedtime & wake-up routines two or three weeks before school begins. Good sleep habits ensure your children will be properly rested from the very beginning of the school year.
9) Practice the morning school routine with younger children before the first day of school. Have a set schedule and consequences for being late.
10) Set up a three-ring binder to hold all the important school papers that you may need to refer to in the future. Use colour-coded dividers for each child.
11) Purchase back to school supplies. Be sure to include any supplies needed for extracurricular activities.

Quick Tip

Organizing with Kids

Here is a simple, effective system for getting your kids organized:
Plan with a goal in mind, Sort through the clutter, Organize what is left and Maintain your space each day.

It is important to give kids control so they don’t see tidying as a chore. Keep it simple: the more gadgets you use, the less likely they are to follow the plan. Keep categories straightforward & age-appropriate. Make sure containers can be opened easily by your child.

Make the storage accessible so they can reach it safely. Use colour: let them pick favourite colours that have meaning for them.

Most important, have fun organizing with your kids. Before you know it, they will be keeping their space clean themselves!

Janet Marks is a professional organizer operating in the GTA. Her services help home owners and small business organize themselves, leading to less stress, increased efficiency & more energy.

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