The new school year is right around the corner and now is the time to establish good habits that will last for the whole year. Not only will these tips lead to smoother mornings, less hassle over homework and (hopefully) a more organized home, but they will also set up good habits for school and work in the future. Here are some tips to get the ball rolling…
1. Plan Ahead
Set yourself up for success by taking some time the night before to plan for the next day. Lay out clothes to make sure everything you want to wear is clean and ready to wear. Pack lunches or snacks so you can just grab and go. Put all books, homework and projects back in the school bag so they are loaded and ready to go.
2. Set a Schedule, Stick to It
Figure out approximately how much time needs to be allotted for each activity you would like to accomplish in an evening. Schedule in time for homework, chores, dinner and fun (TV, video games, soccer practice, etc). Be sure to prioritize what MUST be done and consequences if it is not completed. Setting a schedule will also help you to see how committed or over-committed your family may be.
3. Create a Calendar
Even in this digital age, a large paper calendar can do wonders to help keep your family on track throughout the week. Designate each member of the household with a color (or maybe a sticker) so that you immediately know who has what to do each day. Hang the calendar where it can be seen by all members of the family (the fridge, by the back door, maybe even the car.) If you prefer the digital method, you can still create a separate calendar and color code each different family members’ activities within most calendar programs. Scheduling tasks with reminder alarms can be a great way to stay on top of when things are due.
4. Create a Workstation
It is very important set aside a place for your work. Keep needed supplies stocked in this workstation so they are easily accessible and you don‘t waste twenty minutes searching for a blue pen because this teacher insists all work is done in blue pen. If a specified desk or “office” is not available, try creating a toolbox. Stock it with the supplies you will need to work in the common areas of your home. Then just pull it out when you need to work and put it away in its designated home when finished.
5. Find a Home for Things
One of the easiest ways to stay organized is to put things away. One of the easiest ways to put things away is if they have a permanent home. Designate a home for things like backpacks, lunch boxes and gym shoes. Encourage students to place items themselves in their homes when they come in the door. By putting things away (get ready for this), they will be easier to find when you need them.
6. Color Code
If you have several students in the family, assign each school age member a color then coordinate their accessories. Backpacks, folders, notepads, iPad covers…whatever you need. This can help with locating lost items and with arguments over whose item is whose.