The 2016 school year has started already! The christmas holidays and celebrating the new year seem like a distant memory. Starting something new, like a new school year, always brings mixed emotions. Feelings of excitement and anticipation blended with anxiety and apprehension. Children often experience all these feelings as they begin their educational journey, either in preschool or kindergarten or as they start a new grade. As parents and educators we can assist children to make this transition period run as smoothly as possible.
In this blog, I want to focus on the importance that organisation has in making the transition to a new school year very successful. The following 10 organisational ideas can be used for children who are starting preschool to children in high school.
1. Dedicate an area in the house to organise school items
To eliminate the stress of searching for missing school bags, hats and school shoes, make a place in the house where your child puts their school items as soon as they walk into the house. You could also have a basket for your child to put any notes they receive in it and a basket where they can put their lunchbox so it can be restocked for the next day. Hooks are a great idea to hang school bags, library bags and sports bags on. Each hook could have a label for each child in the family or class.
2. Organise a place to have the uniforms for each day
Save time searching for parts of uniforms by organising the weekly uniforms on Sunday night. Have an allocated place for the school uniform, sports uniform, extra curricular outfits and all the shoes that accompany each outfit. Encourage your child to get this ready as part of their back to school routine on Sunday night. You could also allocate a spot next to the uniforms for any equipment (like an instrument) that the child might need for a particular day.
3. Have a visual “chore” list
It is important for your child (no matter what age) to contribute to the daily running of the household. It is up to every family member to have an active role in the household to keep it running successfully. Having a visual board to keep track of chores completed for the day will help everyone in the house know what still needs to be completed and by who. Children need to see that we all need to work together in order achieve things. The chore list would be made to reflect the age of the child. The example on the left would be for a young child. You could have a checklist for an older child.
4. Have a family recharge station
This is practical for two reasons. The first being that there is a central location where all device chargers are kept so it easy to charge a device. The second reason is probably a more important one. The recharge station is located in the centre of the house, therefore it encourages children to place their devices at the recharge station at night and not in their bedroom. Today in our society, we have a huge problem of children not getting enough sleep due to the overuse of devices at night and as a result they lack concentration and perform poorly at school the next day.
5. Pack the school lunch the night before
Incorporate packing the school lunch into your child’s night routine. They need to be responsible for selecting a healthy lunch and snacks that they would eat the following day. They need to put it in a spot that will be easy to grab the next morning. They could also prepare their water bottle and place it next to their lunch so everything is together.
6. Organise the school lunch supplies
After purchasing items from the supermarket for school lunches, divide the snacks into individual portions. Organise all these snacks in an area of the pantry so they are only used for the school lunches. Keep them in a box or basket to make it easier to get in and out of the pantry. You could also do the same with fruit by dedicating an area or crisper drawer to the school fruit snacks. Your child can then pick three snacks to add into their lunch box each day.
7. A dedicated homework area
This needs to be in a central location of the house. It needs to be stocked with all the supplies that could be needed to complete homework. For example glue, scissors, calculator, ruler, pens, eraser etc. Have a time set that all children in the house need to be at their homework station so the home is very quiet. All televisions and white noise to be turned off during the designated time. Have a set duration (e.g. 30 minutes - 60minutes) that the children need to be working for and then any other homework can be finished off after dinner.
8. A box with compartments for small things
Have a box or basket that has dividers in it to organise the important smaller items in your house. These items could include keys, sunglasses, wallets and phones. Have it in a central location so it is practical for all family members. This will make it very easy to locate these items that often go missing in busy households.
9. Have a family calendar
A family calendar is essential to keep track of all the comings and goings of a busy household. It helps children to visually see what is coming up on what day and what items they may need for that particular event. Children thrive on knowing what to expect next, so a family calendar will help children plan out their week. Each family member could be allocated a colour so it is easy to see what each member of the family has on for each day.
10. Plan the dinner meals for the week
Planning the dinner meals for the week will help you save a lot of time and money. You will only need to do one shop to get all the groceries you need and you will not throw out food that you have not used. Knowing what food to make on each night helps give you time to be with the children to talk to them about their day or to help them with their homework. Allocate quick and easy meals to nights that there may be a lot of extra curricular activities on. Get your child involved in the meal preparation or setting the table. Have a chart to show the family the meals of the week and you could allocate who will help you prepare each meal.
An organised house helps eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress caused by lack of planning. Organisation is an important skill for children to develop and it is essential that they are active participants in contributing to the organisation of the household. This will ensure that they have every opportunity to be successful as they begin their new school year.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog about how organisation can help to make the start of the new school year successful. I hope you have found all the tips and ideas useful for you and your family.
Until next time …
Kelly PisaniClick here to email this post to yourself or a friend