Does back to school have you in a funk?
For much of the country school is already back in swing. Maybe your feeling the back to school Overwhelm too! Last week I shared some tips (here) for back to school scheduling and this week I’m tackling systems for homework stations, wardrobe organizing and taming lunch/snack time stress. One suggestion all around is to involve your kids in at least part of each of these projects. You might prefer to just do it yourself and not have the hassle of the kids opinions and distractions but honestly when I work with kids they love to be involved and they tend to do a much better job of maintaining. Most kids love order and organization!
They don’t have to be fancy or complicated but carving out a specific area where you kids know they go to do their homework is an important part of their school routine. Every child and household is different so your system might differ but the main components needed are pretty simple.
What’s most important is a distraction free zone with a surface, quality task lighting and a comfortable chair. Depending on kids ages this might be in a family room, off the kitchen, at the dining room table or in their bedroom. It’s great if you can incorporate permanent and convenient storage for common supplies-calculator, ruler, pencils, pens, erasers, notepaper, art supplies, books and anything else specific to your kids classes. Maybe a rolling cart and some bins are a good solution if your kids homework space doubles as a family area. Kids will often find a lot of excuses to keep them from doing homework, beat them to the punch and make them feel comfortable and supported for this important daily task that will help them build life long skills!
Kids Wardrobe and closet systems
Have you heard of a Capsule Wardrobe?
I hadn’t until I ran across this article. I love this idea and I’ve naturally done this to some degree on my own (gravitate towards colors I love etc). The full article is worth a read but I’ll give you a quick 5 step summary:
1. Clean all the clothes and gather in one place.
2. Sort and eliminate any that are not in good shape, don’t fit or are impractical.
3. Look at the overall colors, style your kids gravitate towards and start gathering them into categories eliminating duplicates and oddballs that don’t fit with the scheme.
4. Put clothes away, hanging and folding. You might want to try the Kon-Marie method of folding (Tee-shirt video here) or use a folding board. Arranged by category (shirts, pants, shorts etc) and color to make it easier to mix and match outfits.
To make this work you may have to fill in some pieces if you find wardrobe gaps. Now you have the makings for a funky, fun and easy mix and match wardrobe system! This could be a great way to simplify your kids wardrobe and from there, the closet’s and clothes storage might be a little easier!
Easy lunch and snack time
This is a category that I could go into for many posts and I’m sure I’ll come back to this subject because food prep and meals are something my clients often struggle with. Here are a few ideas for easy make ahead lunches and snacks And PLEASE don’t feel bad if you don’t have time to make kitty bento boxes every day!
Start with a well made, insulated and cute lunch box that’s easy to clean!
Stock up on snack friendly foods (pre-packaged if you must or make ahead portions) and create snack stations in the fridge and pantry. Contain items that are snack friendly in bins, baskets or boxes and label them so everyone knows these are mom/dad approved. These should be age appropriately placed (lower shelves for smaller kids) and available with supervision and permission. Older kids can help themselves.
[tons of lunch and snack ideas via realsimple.com]
Make lunches ahead and stock up on easy to prepare lunch foods. There are a million or more ideas on Pinterest and entire websites dedicated to kids meal prep. So many great ideas that I’m really just passing them along here!
Hope you are no longer feeling like you want to pull your hair out or flip at the idea of back to school. If you can’t get it ALL done before school starts, remember it’s a process you can ease into. Pick the one or two areas that drive you the most nuts and tackle them first. Once you’ve got a handle on them add on other systems and remember to keep your kids involved and most importantly, have fun with them!