Archive for Back to School

Dealing With Kids’ Paperwork

MessyDesk300Many adults can handle their personal paperwork, but don’t have a clue when it comes to helping their children get theirs under control. School calendars, lunch menus, homework assignments, and odd-sized art projects can all contribute to a mountain of paper. Here are a few tips to help you help them get organized.

  • Papers that need to be referenced daily or weekly might work well attached to the refrigerator or to a kitchen bulletin board (e.g. lunch menus, calendars, sports schedules).
  • Start an art project box for each child. Oversized professional artist’s portfolios work great. Your local art or office supply store will have a variety of sizes and materials (leather-bound, cardboard) — as well as prices— to choose from. As projects come home, save the favorites in the portfolio. At year end, select only the top five (or ten) to save. Place in under the bed storage boxes (which can be stored anywhere in the house; perhaps the basement) labeled with the years or grades of artwork they contain.
  • If your child comes home with papers that need to be read, signed, or require payment, adopt a simple “in/out box” concept straight from corporate America. Label a box (or basket or cubby or clipboard) for each family member. Store conveniently in the kitchen. Instruct children to place papers that need parents’ perusal in their box. Parents should check their boxes each evening and place completed paperwork in the appropriate child’s box for retrieval. This eliminates mad-dash mornings!
  • To get your children in the habit of managing schoolwork with ease, set up a desk or workspace just for them. Stock drawers (or clear storage boxes) with basic supplies such as paper, pens, pencils, scissors, glue, Post-it notes, etc. Help younger children empty their school bags in the afternoon, and allow them to make decisions about which papers to keep and which to toss. This will get them in the habit of dealing with paperwork regularly and saving only those things that are precious to them.

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Get Your Kids Out The Door With Ease

4 Tricks to a less stressful school day morning

School season has officially arrived, and with it comes the inevitable get-the-kids-off-to-school morning craziness. Why does it have to be so stressful?

It doesn’t—in fact, with a few simple tricks, you can set you and your kids up for a less harried, more peaceful morning.

If your mornings are chaotic, follow these get-organized tips to ensure out-the-door ease.

• Prepare the night before. Make mornings flow smoothly by getting everything ready each evening. Have school bags packed and placed by the door and tomorrow’s outfits laid out. Pack the non-perishable parts of the lunches, so you can simply pop in a sandwich in the morning. Set the breakfast table.

• Create morning routine checklists. Compile a list of daily to-do’s for your kids to complete (make bed, comb hair, brush teeth, etc.), and post it on the fridge or bathroom mirror. Likewise, create an “out-the-door” list of items they need to take to school, and post it on or near the exit door. You might include things like homework, lunch, snacks, library books, instruments, and gym shoes.

• Organize your kids’ arrival. Declare a proper destination for backpacks and school gear in the entryway, install hooks at a kid-friendly height, and have your children put bags there as they arrive home.

• Implement an after school organizing ritual. Teach your kids to empty out their backpacks as soon as they walk in the door. Immediately bring homework to their designated study spot, place papers that need parental review in a designated basket or tray, and put lunch containers in the kitchen. Encourage them to place coats, shoes, and hats in a designated spot to avoid frantic morning searches.

So now I want to know:

What are your best out-the-door strategies that keep your mornings crazy-free?

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