The school year is just around the corner and now is a great time to set your family up for success by getting organized! In this blog we will walk you through tips and tricks to get yourself, your family and your children organized.
Step One: Get your house organized.
An organized home environment will help keep your children and yourself on track during the school year when schedules start to get crazy come September! It helps to start with a clean slate, so get ready to purge. Go through each storage area of your home and separate everything into piles: donate, trash, keep, or store. Take your donate pile to a local shelter or center that takes used clothing or supplies. Some examples of things you would store away would include clothing that your child has grown out of but you can use soon for a sibling. Take these items, place them in a large bin with a label and save for a later date.
It is important to get some extra storage space open in order to properly organize. After the storage areas are done, be sure to do the same for each room. We know this will be easier said than done, but take your time and do not try and rush the process.
Stock up on the essentials:
After you have cleared the clutter, it is time to stock up on the essentials. Nothing is worse than running low on essential supplies you use on everyday basis. Here are some examples:
- Household Items: Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Tissues, Batteries, Cleaning Supplies
- Office Supplies:Printer Paper, Printer Ink, Envelopes, Pens/Pencils, Stamps, Greeting Cards
- Bathroom Supplies/Toiletries:Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Products, Toothpaste, Electric Toothbrush heads, Floss, Hand Soap, Body Wash, Moisturizer, Sunscreen, Razors, Shaving Cream
- Non-perishable fooditems like Cereal, Snacks, + your favorite freezer foods.
- Baby/Kid Items:Diapers/Wipes, Medicine, Bandaids, Art Supplies, Hair Bands/Clips
Create a “home” for everything:
- When you are putting back everything from your keep pile, be sure to have a place for everything. Resist the urge to put everything back in the same exact place. Take some time and make it work for you and your family, group similar items together. It can help to order some storage bins to help keep things organized.
- After you have decided where things should go, put them away and do it right away!
Delegate chores and cleaning between family members:
You will not be able to keep your home clean and organized if your family is not on board. Make sure to keep everyone included in this process. Some different ways to divide up the responsibilities include, dividing the house by “space.” For example, Mom & Dad handle the kitchen, and the kids take the play room (with supervision, of course.) You can also assign certain chores or tasks for family members to complete each week. For example, on child helps set the table, the other helps with the dishes and they rotate each week who takes out the trash.
Meal planning can be really intimidating when you think about it, but putting into action and practice can definitely help in the long run. Take a look at your schedule for the week and decide how much time you have to cook each night. Plan around your schedule.
Think about meal planning in four different steps:
- Plan your meals around your schedule
- Make a list and shop
- Meal prep (chop the veggies, or make a casserole you can heat up)
- Include your whole family in meal prep, cooking and clean up
- Heat up or cook!
It can be helpful to have “themed nights” throughout the week, so if soccer practice is on Monday, this can be slow cooker night, taco Tuesday if you have extra time on Tuesday, Casserole Wednesday if you have little time before dance class, etc.
Eating together as a family will not only help you stay organized but also can have lasting positive impacts on your family! Children who eat three or more meals with their family a week are 20% less likely to drink, smoke or use illegal drugs, 40% more likely to get mostly A’s and B’s in school, have a lower risk of depression, suicide, eating disorders and obesity, and have a better sense of identity, belonging and family ties. Try these fun conversation starters for your next mealtime! AS you children these questions:
- What one special talent would you like to have?
- Which household chores do you like to do and which do you try to avoid?
- If the snow fell in any flavor, what would you want it to be?
- What is your favorite holiday, and why?
Cut yourself some slack:
Remember, your house has to work for you and it does not need to look perfect at all times! Give yourself a break to be human! If you are really busy one week, try and schedule some time the next week to catch up on chores.
Step two: Help your child get and stay organized
Break things into chunks: Give children step by step guides to each chore. Breaking things into smaller tasks will help your child not get overwhelmed.
Make check lists and to do lists: Have a physical list placed somewhere in your house that children will see often. Write out each chore and the steps for all of them, let your child be creative with how the list looks, and where they want to keep it, they will be the ones checking off their accomplishments each day!
Establish daily routines: We always talk about how children thrive on routine, if you expect one chore to be done every day, ask your child to do it at the same time each day. For example, if you expect beds to be made every morning, encourage your child to do so as soon as they wake up!
Create an organized workspace: Set aside spaces in your home where children can work uninterrupted. For younger children, it would help if these spaces were close to you so you can assist with homework as needed. Be sure to stock up school supplies in this space!
Do regular backpack audits: Back packs are a critical link between home and school, so it is important they are clean and organized. Be sure to put time on your list once a week to clean out and organize backpacks.
Help children think ahead: As part of your nighttime routine, talk with your children about the schedule for the next day. This helps children think ahead and feel more in control.
As always, if you have additional questions, please call our 24/7 Parenting HelpLine at 1-800-243-7337.