Back to school time can be easier if you put routines in place. Having set schedules is very helpful, and so is taking the time to set up stations for school day necessities.
- Have a designated lunch station. Place all kids lunch foods in one spot in the refrigerator and in one spot in the pantry. I like to use bins for this. Lunch boxes, or lunch bags, go here as well, along with any other necessities such as plastic spoons, napkins, water bottles, etc.
This has two benefits: When you are ready to make lunch, everything is right at your fingertips AND you can easily see if you are low on anything for grocery shopping. Nothing is worse that trying to make lunch at 7AM and you are out of your son’s favorite string cheese.
- Have a designated homework station where you can supervise and make sure homework is completed. This station should have paper, pencils, calculator or whatever your child needs to get the work done. Placing all of these items in a labeled bin or lap desk is a great way to have all of your materials in one place. Plus it’s portable. For younger children, kitchen’s tend to be the place of choice for homework. Using a cabinet or drawer for supplies is great, or having a small desk or table works as well. For older kids, a desk in their room can be properly supplied.
- Set up an “out the door” station. This is where backpacks, coats, shoes, etc. go, preferable right by the door. If you drive kids to school, make sure that any science projects, school supplies, extra materials, etc. are already in the car the night before. I don’t recommend this for live animals or perishable materials but you get the idea.
Having everything you need all in one spot is nothing new – simply good basic organizing techniques. You can use this for any area of the home, and for any routine you have. But for kids it works really well, primarily because when stuff is scattered around, it can cause their brains to scatter around as well – and who needs more of that?
Organizing is all about making life easier to manage – and setting up stations in your home to manage school routines can make the difference between having a crazy day or a calm one. The great thing about routines and stations is that when the inevitable crisis occurs – enough is in place that you can deal with it and move on. Think about what your days look like – and find the gaps in your routines. All it may take is some thought, some planning, and some bins!