Organization Tips for Busy Back to School Families
The start of the school year is a blessing and a curse. The stress of coordinating summer camps and keeping kids busy throughout the long summer days come to an end, but it also means adjusting to the routine of early morning wake-ups, homework and carpooling kids to multiple afterschool activities. Our VP of Marketing, Sangita Forth, knows how hectic the new school year can be as a working mom of three kids and a puppy, so we asked her to share her top back to school organization tips to reduce stress! Here's what she said:
My husband and I both work full time, so we spend a lot of time getting our family ready for school with their respective schedules, school & sport supplies, homework, lunch and dinner prep. These are our two big back to school projects that keep us all organized:
- The Big Clean – I spend a full weekend going through each of our kids' clothes and toys and donate anything that is gently used or toys in great condition that they have outgrown. I give each kid a box/bag and ask them to go through their drawers and place anything that doesn’t fit them or that they don’t wear in the bag/box. I also do a quick check of their clothes to remove anything that is torn or permanently stained. This “spring cleaning” not only declutters their room, but it gives me a chance to audit their clothes to make sure they have enough socks, underwear, shirts, and pants for school. We then make a shopping list of any clothes they're missing for the start of school.
- Publish a Schedule – I print out the kids' schedule by day (color-coded by child) and post it by the door. This way the kids know what activities they have each day, both at school and after school. It helps remind them what to pack for school including soccer gear and library books that need to be returned back to the school, and it also helps my husband and I coordinate drop-offs and pickups.
In terms of day-to-day management, we focus on prepping things ahead of time to avoid frantic mornings and establish a routine for homework time. Here are a few tips that work for our family:
- Pack lunches the night before and have the kids take ownership - My kids pack their lunches the night before (including my 6 year old). They have guidelines to pack a fruit, veggie, and protein. Their lunches range from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to a mezze platter of salami, crackers, nuts and cheese. Having the kids pack their lunches themselves not only fosters independence but also helps ensure that they'll actually eat it since they're packing what they like!
- Study Hall for Homework – My husband and I both work and with after school activities and sports, it’s very hard for us to help with homework in the afternoons. We designate a Study Hall from 7-8pm every night where everyone sits at the dining table and we help the kids with their homework. If one of my kids has already completed their homework, then we have them double check their homework or review it with us. It’s a great way for all of us to spend time together and for us to learn about what our kids are learning in the classroom.
- Plan out meals for the week – I plan out meals for the week on Sunday. This helps me not only plan out my Sunday grocery shopping but also plan out the nights where I can spend 30 minutes cooking a meal vs. prepping the meal in the morning with my Instapot.
With these organization tips in hand, heading back to school doesn't need to be a complete frenzy. Just remember that a little bit of prep goes a long way!
Now it's your turn to share your organization tips and tricks. Join our #MyNewGoal challenge on Facebook and Instagram and let us know how your family is getting organized for the new school year for a chance to win a $100 Target gift card. Good luck and happy new school year!