At Perfectly Nanny, we know that an organized school year can make all the difference, for both parents and children. These trusted organization tips can give you more time and energy with your family.
Here are Perfectly Nanny’s Top 9 Tips to Start the School Year Organized
Create a clear Command Central area for family communication
A functioning Command Central should have a few key things – but can also be customizable to each family’s needs. The most necessary item is an up-to-date family calendar. This is crucial too communicating schedules among family members. Other ideas for your Command Central include:
- A space to post daily chores and important reminders (schedule that dentist appointment, for example)
- An inbox for each parent and child. Signed permission slips and homework folders can have a consistent home for each child – and children can place key papers they don’t want Mom and Dad to miss in their parent’s inbox.
- Breakfast and Dinner menu for the week
- Shopping Lists. Include a space where the family can add things they need/want or have run out of!
- Important phone numbers and emergency contacts.
Structured morning and evening routines
We have all had those harried mornings – everyone is running late; shoes are lost, and an assignment was missed the night before. School drop off or sending kids out to catch the bus leaves you feeling like the morning was spent angry instead of starting your children’s day off on a positive note. Routines – both morning and evening – can bring peace to these often-hectic times in a family’s day.
- AM: Consider a family schedule to determine daily wake up time, bathroom time (who showers first, etc.), breakfast time and out the door time.
- PM.: A clear schedule in the evenings help manage homework expectations, dinner preparation, chores and any necessary prep for the next morning. Clearly defined bedtimes are also helpful for children.
Plan your meals ahead of time
Planning breakfast and dinner menus for the week can make these mealtimes much more enjoyable – especially for Mom or Dad, who won’t have to answer the daily question of “What’s for dinner?” This is a true time saver and mental-energy saver!
Breakfast: Consider casseroles and freezable dishes that can be re-heated and feed everyone for multiple days.
Lunch: If you want to include lunch menus, this can make packing lunches easier for the week. Give your children a couple of options for their main lunch item and snacks and have them choose (and even help assemble) lunches the night before.
Dinner: The time between children getting home from school and bedtime goes quickly. Don’t add extra stress by having to determine daily what dinner will be. Having your meals planned, and shopped for, in advance can make the evening run smoother for everyone. Again, we suggest choosing a few main meals that can be served as leftovers or turned into an easy secondary dish the next night to save on budget and time! Check out this easy Mexican Chicken Mac casserole and other useful meal prep tips!
Implement a homework routine
Help your children learn great habits by setting clear expectations about when homework is to be completed. The first thing you need for an ideal homework routine is a place for children to do their homework that is quiet and comfortable. Parents, make sure you are available to help during this time, also. Depending on the activities in your home – starting homework right after school gets it out of the way, and allows more time to compensate for any missed needs (i.e. your child left a book at school and needs to call a friend, or you need to make a quick store run for extra glue) and clears up the evening for more time together.
Engage with your child’s school & teacher
Involved parents make a huge difference in a child’s school year. Your children will know you care and are keeping track of what is going on. Teachers are invaluable in alerting you of the strengths your child has as well as areas for improvement. Your involvement can help advance your child’s learning.
Create a system for completed schoolwork and items you want to save
Papers, papers everywhere. Sometimes the piles of papers brought home from school can be overwhelming. Our best advice is to handle these daily — and at the very least, once a week (every Friday, for example.) This will eliminate counter clutter and give you a clear plan for what to keep and what to toss — and make certain you aren’t missing important papers that need to be returned to the school. It will also make sure you actively gather the schoolwork or artwork you or your children want to save. One method is to keep everything in hanging file folders in a file drawer or storage container. Giving each child their own allows room for additional items over the years.
Designate homes for backpacks, shoes and more
Tired of backpacks and shoes left by the door, or thrown on the table? Creating a defined place for backpacks to land when the kids come home is a simple, but powerful tool in your organizational toolbox! Defining a place for backpacks, lunch boxes, coats, gloves, and shoes helps to keep your space clean and helps your child develop good habits. It can also cut back on the number of misplaced items during the morning rush!
Take time with your children and get their input
No matter how focused we might want to be on organization, the need to be flexible remains. There might be days when children need more of our time. Every day, they need time with Mom and Dad to share and be heard and to have fun together as a family. As you work on your own home organization, be sure to listen to their input. Let them share with you what is working well and where they are frustrated. Let them help develop solutions for systems that are not working smoothly.
If your family schedule is incredibly hectic, consider a family assistant
Sometimes, we all have to admit that a little extra help is needed. You might not have ever considered a family assistant before – but they can be there to help all of the odds, ends, and details get accomplished. A family assistant role would be part childcare and part household duties such as running errands, organization of the home, light cleaning, scheduling appointments, and activities for the children, meal prep, laundry, etc.
Larger families, families with both Mom and Dad working outside the home, or parents working from home, and so many more family situations can call for an extra hand. Perfectly Nanny is here to help – you can begin your search for a family assistant, nanny, or occasional babysitter today! Now is the time to act to help you have the organized school year of your dreams!
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