August 11, 2022 4 min read

Photo credit: Olia Danilevich

Prepping for going back to school such as getting organized, staying on top of things, and being available sometimes end up like last New Year’s resolutions. You start out with all the best intentions, only to have things unravel. And the older your kids get, the less they want you involved as they grow more independent. That’s all fine and dandy, except there’s only one of you, and usually, two or more of them to keep track of, organize and schedule. These 10 back-to-school organization tips will help you and the rest of the family head into the new school year with a bit more ease and a lot less daily chaos. 


1.  Start with a Conversation

Planning a head for the new school term makes life easier. Include all family members for greater cooperation.

Being organized is a team event; like the saying goes 'there’s no “I” in ‘team,’ and your idea of organization might not match those of other family members. Sitting down at the kitchen table and plotting out a game plan ensures everyone’s on the same page and more likely to follow through when they are active participants. 
  • Discuss what each person wants to do this school year and their priorities. 
  • This makes it easier to map out a path to achieving those goals. 
  • It also sets expectations and fosters cooperation.


2.  It’s All About Routine. 

Kids do better with daily routine including study time, sports activities and bedtime. 

Photo credit: Olia Danilevich

Creating a routine or multiple routines helps set everyone up for success. Repetition is the key with kids. You already know this because you’re constantly repeating yourself. For example, make shopping for school supplies a routine event they’ll look forward to, with dinner at their favorite restaurant or a treat afterward. Establishing such routines reinforces positive habits, being on time, sticking to obligations, and creating stability, so everyone feels comfortable and more confident.


3.  Itemize & Discard. 

Declutter and organize kids clothing, backpacks, sports gear and closets.

Photo credit: Rodnae Productions

Before school starts, go through what your children have, what they need, and what they can get rid of. This is a chore, there’s no sugar-coating it, but a little reward at the end can make it seem sweeter.

  • Sort all their clothing, accessories, school supplies, and sporting equipment. 
  • Decluttering is energizing, so dump what you can and note what needs replacing. Don’t forget to add a donate pile. 


4. Use Apps. 

Online calendar apps have replaced fridge calendars and go with you on your cell phone.

Photo credit: Czapp-árpád

About that color-coded fridge calendar—there’s an app for that. Various scheduling and organization apps can help you stay organized, give kids incentives for doing homework, and track after-school activities and schedules.

  • Using a Google calendar or a similar online planning calendar is a great start and so much easier to keep your color-coordinated schedule up-to-date and within reach at all times.
  • MyStudyLifeinClass, or Studiousapps help older kids with assignment tracking and notetaking. Remember, many schools have preferred apps for students, so look for their recommendations. 


5. Smart Assistants.

Smart Assistants use artificial intelligence to help with lists, homework and research.

If you’re a family that loves the convenience of AI assistants, you might want to explore the Echo Dot Kid’s Edition. Your kids can use it to find out what the weather will be that day, set alarms for study time and bedtime, they can learn to time study breaks, and make the most of reminders. You can even pair it to your device as an intercom system.  


6. Label Everything.  

Labelling kids' clothing, backpacks, school books and gear saves time and money.

Labeling is a tremendous organizational tool that often saves the day. Label everything, from notebooks to underwear, so your child can spot their stuff quickly and easily. It also helps others return items that have been misplaced. Just one returned electronic gadget more than covers the cost of the labels. 


7. The Backpack Dump. 

Backpacks are a key essential for back to school gear for kids

Backpacks top the list as a necessity, and choosing the right one is key to starting the school year right. Backpacks are available in many fun, kid-friendly designs, and the best ones are machine-washable, with organizational compartments and wide padded shoulder straps to distribute weight evenly. 

Sometimes they can also become a mysterious wasteland where permission slips, homework, and treasures get lost. You can remedy this with a little extra effort. Every day after school, set a routine of dumping out the backpacks. It’s messy and takes a little time, but it helps keep everyone on track and organized. Make sure your kids help because this is an excellent way to encourage good habits.

8. Load Up the Car. 

Keep snacks, water, extra tees and socks, towels and first aid kits in the trunk of your car

Items often forgotten can be stored in the trunk like extra rain gear, t-shirts, school supplies, snacks, and whatever extras you think your kids might need at a moment’s notice. This tip really comes in handy for after-school activities and sports gear. Consider a checklist and reviewing car supplies every month, and don’t forget a first aid kit, towels, books, games, and a WeatherPod® for staying dry on cold, rainy days at soccer or softball matches.


9. Sports Prep. 

The right sports equipment for kids sports and the sidelines should include pop-up spectator tents

Being involved in sports is great for your child’s social and physical development, but it also adds stress and disorganization to your schedule. Don’t worry – you got this.

  • Youth sports leagues and organizations usually have a list of “must-haves” so you know what your kids need ahead of time. 
  • Use trunk organizers to store snacks, water, favorite accessories, and good-luck tokens. 
  • Also, consider the kids that won’t be playing sports and what they’ll need to be comfortable and occupied during games and practices. 
  • Finally, think about yourself. You deserve to enjoy this time, too. Having a family Pod or a game-day Pod can be the difference between enjoying every game or suffering through cold, soggy ones. 

Check out our blog about a Stress-Free Sports Season for some additional tips.


10. Allow for Mistakes.

Mistakes happen but how you deal with them sets the tone and the example for your kids

Photo credit: Rodnae Productions

Being organized is a great goal, but being perfect is impossible. We all forget things or end up running behind occasionally, and there are days when hanging up your jacket feels like too much work. Remember, nobody’s perfect, and mistakes are inevitable. Flexibility when troubleshooting forgotten home work assignments or skipping a routine every now and then can go a long way to avoiding anxiety and disappointment. Being able to roll with the punches is an important life lesson—when your children see you doing it, they learn how to positively handle stress and hiccups throughout the day.

Parents can set the tone for their kids’ attitudes about the upcoming school year. By establishing a few back-to-school traditions, you’ll also create an environment of enthusiasm and anticipation for the year ahead. The kids will have more to look forward to, including attending classes with school friends, after-school activities, and playing their favorite sports.  

 


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