It’s hard to believe but in just a few weeks the kids will be back in school and the craziness of homework, back to school nights and after school activities will begin all over again. It can be quite a stressful time for parents and kids. Yesterday, I spoke to Dina Bair on WGN about some easy Back To School tips to get you and your kids ready for the new school year.
You can check out the full segment here: WGN: Back To School Organizational Tips.
Here are some of the tips that we talked about that I hope you’ll find useful:
Shoe Bag Organizer for Kids’ Essentials: Who says shoe bags are just for shoes? We hang one in our mudroom and all of the kids stuff for after school activities are kept in it. We put cleats, shin guards, soccer socks, swim cap, goggles, leotard for ballet, leotard for gymnastics, ballet slippers, tights etc.. into it. When they get home from the activity, all the accessories and shoes go right back into the pockets. When the laundry is done the leotards and tights go right back as well. Now there’s no more running around on a Tuesday searching for pink tights. You can also store bus passes, keys, school id’s etc…
Homework Caddy: Haven’t we all found ourselves running around looking for rubber cement at 8:00 at night for some school project. Not this year! Take a plastic portable bin and fill it with everything kids need to do their homework. We include plain paper, lined paper, hole punch, rubber cement, glue stick, stapler, calculator, tape, crayons, markers, ruler and scissors. This caddy can now go from room to room wherever your kids do their homework. It’s also easy to grab and throw in the car if one child needs to do their homework in the car while taking a sibling to their soccer game or something.
Create a Hair Caddy For Girls: One of the things that always slows me down in the morning is doing my daughter’s hair. I created a hair caddy that now holds her brush, spray water bottle, detangler, comb and of course elastics, barrettes and bows. Everything is all in one place and ready to go. I can follow her around the house if need be and have everything I need to get the hair out of her face. It makes getting her ready so much faster! I bought this caddy in the dollar bin at Target. Here’s a similar one.
Bulletin Board Organization: It is time to clean off the bulletin board and organize it. If you looked at my bulletin board at the end of the school year, it literally looked like someone threw up on it. I had invitations for birthdays parties that took place in November…of 2013! We spoke to some professional organizers, and they all said the same thing. Create areas on your bulletin boards for different categories. Put all pictures in one corner, invitations in another corner. Dedicate one area to important numbers and information (like doctor’s #, poison control, Wi Fi codes for babysitters). By doing this, you’ll make it so much easier to find what you’re looking for.
Catch all Bin for Each Kid: In our mudroom we have a hook for each child. That’s where they need to hang their coat and backpack. But what to with all the junk that they bring home each day? We have a bin (underneath each hook) for each child to empty their backpacks in. They put artwork, schoolwork, and tests in there. It’s also where we store library books. I love the concept of my kids checking out a library book from school. But for some reason, these books seem to get lost in the great black hole of my house. (I can’t tell you how much I’ve paid in fees). With this system, my kids can empty their backpacks daily and then we can go through the pile when we have time. It also means we’re never scrambling under beds and behind couches to find library books on library day.
Mabel’s Labels: This is a company by moms for moms. In fact, one of my favorite parts of the Back To School process is ordering my book of Mabel’s Labels. You can put these labels on everything including clothes (best part is they stick on, so you don’t need an iron), shoes, water bottles, backpacks, books, pencil cases, etc. They have a great back to school combo pack that we love. They also have design choices specifically geared to the discerning tweens.
Easy snack and lunch organization: Making lunches can be a drag, but there are some easy shortcuts. Take a plastic bin that can fit in your fridge. Fill it with cheese sticks, yogurt tubes, mini carrot packs, apple slices and pudding cups so you have all of the elements for lunch in one place. Take a separate bin and put in dry snacks and foods. Now you can easily grab items to fill their lunch boxes or to use as after school snacks. ($$ saving tip is to buy big boxes at Costco and then put individual portions in small zip locks).
Get a jump on breakfast. Before going to bed put out cereal boxes, oatmeal packs, bowls, silverware, granola bars and fruit on the table so you’re ready to go in the morning. This makes the morning breakfast routine so much faster so you won’t be tardy!
30 minutes of reading time: We definitely got a little lax with the reading over the summer. To get kids to start reading again before school make it fun by letting them take pillows and flashlights into the backyard and read under the stars. I promise you won’t hear any complaining.
Get Ready with a Fun Treat: Going back to school doesn’t have to be all bad. There’s a great Rolo craft idea that turns the candy into a Back to School Pencil. It’s been burning up Pinterest. We tried it with Rolos and SweetTarts (in case your child doesn’t like chocolate), and we simplified the instructions. My kids loved it! Click here to see how to make it.