Ahead of the Curve: 4 Tips for an Organized School Year

It's almost upon us, can you feel it? Everywhere you go the signs are there: pencils, notebooks, pens, posters of apples and smiling children and chalkboards--the school year is about to begin.

If you're like most parents, you've enjoyed the summer and you are equally ready for it to come to a glorious end. Of course, getting the kids back into school means suddenly needing to keep up with a million different things. Thankfully, these 4 tips will get you off to the right start so you can enjoy every beautiful day of the school year!

Keep Supplies on Hand

It's 7pm and your adorable kiddo looks at you with sudden panic: "I forgot about my Social Studies project!" If you're lucky, it's something simple, but we're never that lucky, and pretty soon you're at a local store picking up a box of colored pencils and some sketch paper.

Back to School Supplies

Make that a thing of the past by stocking up on some of your own school supplies. Clear out a cabinet and keep these handy:

  • Notebook paper
  • Printer/Drawing paper
  • Posterboard
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Colored Pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue

These supplies are pretty universal and can fill in whenever you find yourself up against the last-minute homework clock.

Create a Self-Serve Lunch Station

This is one of the best tips out there for the new school year, particularly if you have picky (or just very independent) eaters, and it's like meal planning for school lunch. 

Once a week, make a bunch of sandwiches, separate out bags of fruit and veggies and snacks, refrigerate drinks, and keep them in separate areas of the fridge. Then, let the kids pack their own lunch like a buffet: give them their lunch bag and let them pick the things they want from what you've supplied.

No complaints about what's for lunch when they've packed it themselves, and it takes some of the morning rush off of your shoulders, as well.

Filing System at Home

Filing PaperworkIt seems like the school year generates a ridiculous amount of paperwork for you and for the kids, and keeping track of it can be a nightmare. Making a system for all of the papers coming into and going out of the house is definitely the easiest way to combat it, but setting that up shouldn't be even more work.

Instead, get a simple filing system and mark a folder for each child's incoming and outgoing paperwork. When they come in from school, have them drop off their notes, permission slips, calendars, assignments in their personal "inbox." 

Once it becomes part of their daily routine, keeping up with all of the paperwork will be a breeze. 

Post the Routine

ChecklistSpeaking of routine, having a routine makes everything so much smoother for everyone involved. Of course, keeping everyone in the flow of the routine can be a struggle, but making a visual reminder can be especially helpful for younger children.

For the youngest children, create a picture routine, one for morning and one for evening, and hang it on the wall in their bedroom. A visual checklist of what to do to get ready for school, for instance, might include a picture of a breakfast, a toothbrush, and clothes.

For older kids, a list can work wonders: Take a bath, brush your teeth, make your bed, etc. Every morning remind them to check their list--have they done everything that needs to be done? It can go a long way in making them more independent when they get ready and making everything a little less chaotic!

The beginning of the school year is exciting for a lot of reasons, but going back to school prepared makes it that much better.

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