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Back to School | Family Organizing | Kids/Families

School Organizing Routines to Help Families Avoid Stress

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School Organizing Routines to Help Your Family Feel More in Control as the Weeks Roll By:

These 11 school organizing routines will help your family plan ahead for the new school year and avoid stressful moments.

While our family had several school organizing routines in place, we still had our mishaps from time to time. Years ago, my daughter Emily came to me one sunny morning and anxiously told me that she could not find her school uniform jumper. I calmly ensured her that there was one hanging in the laundry room clean and ready to be put on.

She told me that she had already looked there. I knew I had just washed it and hung it there, so I told her to look again. She couldn’t find it the second time either.  So I went to the laundry room to retrieve it myself. All the while thinking, “Why can’t my children ever find anything on their own?”

But to my surprise, and dismay… I couldn’t find it either.

I could feel anxiety boiling up inside me. We had to leave for school soon, and it was going to be 89 degrees that day. I ask you, what fate could be worse than being the only kid in school wearing pants on a smoldering hot day? My calm self had vanished like the jumper. Now I was running around the house in a searching frenzy.

That was just about the time that Emily’s older sister Maddie happened to notice that Cassie (my youngest) was all dressed for kindergarten and ready to go. The only thing was, her jumper, was so large, it hung down nearly to her ankles.

Thankfully, the mystery had been solved, and without a moment to spare. We did some quick jumper switching and headed out the door.

These occasional crises seem to go hand in hand with family life. And while we can’t avoid every roller coaster moment entirely, we can create some helpful school organizing routines to minimize the probability of them popping up in the first place.

School Organizing Routines

My Favorite School Organizing Routine is to Establish a Launching Pad.

Create a system by the door to help your child remember the items that need to go with them to school each day. A launching pad can be created by placing a bin or basket by the door that everyone leaves out of. It is the perfect place to put lunches, backpacks, coats, musical instruments, and sports equipment. 

Establish a Weekly Family Huddle.

Decide what day works best for your family…possibly Saturday mornings, or Sunday evenings, and hold a weekly family planning meeting. Discuss the upcoming week’s activities, deadlines, and appointments, and add them to the family calendar. Plan ahead for any activities that require any advance preparation like purchasing new shoes before football practice or baking cookies for an event. This will have a big impact on helping you stay in control and avoid unwelcome surprises as the week progresses.

Plan Ahead for Things That Need to Get Done at Home.

The family huddle can also be a good time to plan the other things that need to get done at home each week. Have your family help decide what meals they would like to eat for the week. Be sure to create a grocery list to go along with the plan. Decide what household chores each person is responsible for completing that week.  

Another Super Helpful School Organizing Routine is to Prepare For School the Night Before. 

Have each family member take 10-15 minutes before bedtime each night to get organized for the next school day. Lay out outfits, pack everything that needs to go to school. Gather together after-school supplies and snacks for activities. Make lunches for the next day. Doing this will help the mornings to run smoother and will prevent items from being forgotten.  

 

Go Through Your Child’s Backpack at the Same Time Everyday.

Pick a time that works well for you and go through the paperwork in your child’s backpack daily. Doing it when your children are tackling their homework works well. Take immediate action on any paperwork that needs to be signed or completed rather than putting it off until later. 

Don’t Put Off the Predictable. 

 ​Just as it is much less stressful not to wait until the last minute to do a homework assignment, it promotes peace to get scheduled activities out of the way and prepare ahead of time rather than waiting until the last minute. For example, not waiting until the day before practice to shop for football shoes will prevent you from panicking if you can’t find the size you need at the store. 

Create a Family Command Center.

A bulletin board is a good place for the family calendar, weekly household chore charts, schedules, and other things that must be referenced frequently. Use hanging wall pockets or small bins to assign mailboxes to each child. These can house all those important papers that they bring home that you may need for future reference. 

Designate a Separate Place for Completed School and Artwork.

As the year progresses, there is a simple way to organize the monsoon of school paperwork that comes home with your child each day. Just toss everything into a conveniently located paperwork bin and have your children go through it at the end of the year. Periodically go through the bin and toss all past schoolwork, keeping any artwork and other keepsake items.

Make it a summer project to have your kids go through the bin and pull out their own work. For instructions on how to create a school keepsake tote that each child can self manage with minimal supervision, read my other article:  How To Organize Kid’s School Keepsakes & Memorabilia.

Create a Daily 10-Minute Family Tidy Session.

This school organizing routine will go a long way in keeping your home less cluttered from day to day. Get your family in the habit of participating in a family tidying session at the same time each day, perhaps right before or after supper. You’ll be surprised how quickly your home can go from disheveled to orderly when everyone pitches in and works together for just 10 minutes.

You can also make it fun by setting a timer that counts down or by playing music.  Having a tidy home will help you feel more in control and organized as the school year progresses. 

Protect Your Family’s Daily Schedule.

Don’t be afraid to say no to the things that are less important to you. Nobody has the time to do it all, so choose your family’s commitments wisely and carefully. Be sure to include free time in your family’s schedule. Once you get too busy, you lose control and lose the ability to plan ahead.

What Other School Organizing Routines Can You Establish?

Forming helpful family routines, such as doing homework and household chores at the same time every day, and having set bath and bedtimes, can help both you and your child feel more in control. Routines give a sense of security and predictability that make our lives feel less chaotic. Establish a school organizing routine with your child as soon as possible and stick with it.

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