Getting back to a routine after the lazy days of summer can be challenging even for the best of us. But don’t let back to school sneak up on you. These tried and true tips will help you get prepared and organized for the inevitable chaos of notebooks, lunches, homework, and everything in between.
1. Start early
Begin adapting the family schedule a few weeks before school starts. Make bedtimes 30 mins earlier, and set morning alarms earlier too. This will help ease everyone back into routine, and ensure a smoother first couple of days.
2. Organize school supplies
Take inventory of last year’s school supplies to see what can be used for the upcoming year. Recycle old notebooks but keep any unused pages as scratch paper. Then store new and old supplies near a designated homework area (not the kitchen table). Also, check out these tips for reviving old school supplies.
3. Set up a storage system
Clean your coat closet or streamline your mudroom to create space for the kids to store their backpacks, jackets, sports and music equipment, and other back-to-school gear. It’s important for everything to have its place.
4. Create a kid-friendly closet
Keep commonly used items in plain sight so it’s easy to grab them. Use high shelves, and Ziploc® Space Bag® products to maximize space and store off-season clothing. Also consider separating tops and bottoms, and organizing by color, to help children find things easily. Another tip: place adhesive plastic hooks in the closet which make it easier for younger ones to keep their coats and clothes organized.
5. Create a lunch-packing station
Designate an area in your kitchen for all your lunch packing supplies. It can be a drawer, a cabinet, or even a cart. Stock up on various Ziploc® brand bags and containers, napkins, plastic silverware, condiment packets, wet wipes and maybe even a few pre-packaged snacks. Here are some great to-go lunch ideas for inspiration.
6. Plan for paperwork
Create one file per child to keep important papers as well as artwork. During holiday breaks, go through the folder with your child and keep what’s necessary. At the end of the year, put the file in a keepsake box with room for the years ahead.
7. Make a bathroom plan
If you have more than one child, or only one bathroom, set a schedule and post it on the door. Have some kids take their bath/shower at night, and others in the morning. To really keep things moving, specify a time limit. Stock up on toiletries, brushes, hair ties and headbands.
To make sure everyone knows their schedule, place a dry erase board near the kids’ coats and gear. Consider syncing up digital calendars with family members with smartphones.