As any parent knows, getting ready to for the school return is both exciting (yay, routine, we’ve missed you!!) and overwhelming (um, where did I put that Summer reading list??). Suddenly, the lazy dog days of summer are quickly replaced with rushing out the door, finishing up homework and following strict schedules. A strong start to the school year while introducing a good work ethic for your children, always begins with an organized home. Here 5 easy to incorporate tips for your home to start your family off on the right foot and keep things running smoothly all year long.
Any teacher will tell you a well-rested student is their best student. Color designers recommend painting children’s bedrooms in soothing colors like blues, grays, soft pinks or creams to encourage rest at the end of the day. If you’ve got a bedroom that has loud, fun colors on the wall and your children are having trouble sleeping you may want to consider a redesign. Blackout shades can also keep little ones from waking too early at the first crack of morning light. Bedrooms that are clutter free and quiet also encourage a good night’s sleep. Some children benefit from soft noisemakers if there is a shared space or thin walls. Incorporating bedtime routines and setting up a restful bedroom will enable your child to fall asleep easier and wake up ready to learn.
Family Command Center
With so many of us are on virtual calendars, it is absolutely still necessary to set up a family command center for the entire family that is both visible and easily changeable as schedules or responsibilities change. It’s important for everyone to know where and when to be ready for activities, exams and family chores. Having all of the items for the day readily available in your mudroom, hallway or entry allows children to learn to be responsible for themselves. A dreamy mudroom may be on your to-do list, or perhaps you already have one, but if not, simple hallway hooks, calendars and bulletin boards can still do the trick. Designated in/out bins for school papers to be signed and returned to teachers is also a great idea to incorporate into your command center.
Dressing For Success
Armed with labeled boxes for Donate, Toss and Keep, spend a day (or two) with your child cleaning out the closet and dresser drawers. This helps avoid morning meltdowns over clothing that no longer fits or isn’t seasonal. Once you’ve cleared out the old and shopped for that perfect first day of school outfit, it’s time to make a fun and simple project with your child that will really help both of your morning routines run more smoothly. Create little hanger tags labeled with the days of the week that hook right onto your child’s outfits. There are lots of printable tags you can search for online as well if you don’t want to make your own. Have your child pick out her favorite outfits together on Sunday and organize them by parent-approved outfits and weather appropriateness. Hang a tag labeled with the day and you’re good to go all week long. No more morning arguments over what to wear.
One of the most stressful parts of getting back into the school routine for parents is filling the daily lunch box. Finding healthy, tasty or even allergy-free snacks can be a challenging day after day. Then, the kids come home from school starving and want to grab the first sugary snack they see. Setting up a dedicated kitchen drawer, cabinet or bin just for healthy, ready-made snacks shaves off time in your lunch prep and allows the children an opportunity to grab already parent-approved snacks at the end of the day. Spend just a few minutes once a week dividing up the baby carrots, apple slices or celery into little snack portions, prep some cheese and crackers or bin together all your child’s favorite yogurt tubes on a designated shelf in the fridge. Instead of expensive pre-packaged snack bags like cookies or chips at your local big box stores, you can often save money and calories by buying larger sized bags of pretzels or veggie bites and dividing these up yourself. It’s easy to then corral these items together in your pantry. Juice boxes or reusable water bottles can also be grouped together in your fridge for grab-n-go. Setting up snack stations in your kitchen is a great way to start the lunch prep off right and keep it going all year long.