The lazy days of summer have come and gone. It’s time for your little ones to take the next big step as they kick off their upcoming school year. Back to school isn’t just about getting backpacks and school supplies ready. It is the time when parents focus on prepping their kids for success in the classroom.
The parent organization Learning Heroes conducted a national survey of K-8 parents, which revealed that peer pressure and their child’s happiness topped parent worries. Most parents said it is most important that their child be happy and free of stress vs. topping their academic class.
Nearly 9 in 10 parents believed their child was performing at or above their grade level, while only a third of American students are at the level they need to succeed.
One of the best things parents can do to help their kids adjust to the change of pace and perform at their academic peak is to get organized!
Let’s look at the top 10 tips to get your kids off to a great start this year…
1. Multiply productivity with a homework station: Clutter can make your head spin. When you’re heads spinning, it’s not easy to learn. Collect all those pencils, papers, and folders in a nifty homework station. Keep supplies stocked so your kids can jump right in and blaze through their homework assignments – imagine what they’ll do when they aren’t concerned about finding a stray highlighter or needed eraser!
2. Snack attacks = no problem: Give your kids the fuel they need by creating a handy snack station! By organizing foods, you can cut much of your lunchtime prep time or after school bites. Bag apples, carrots and other perishable snacks, as well as premade PB&Js, cheese sticks, yogurt, and other munchables and toss them in a drawer in the fridge. Keep a pantry shelf for bags of chips, juice boxes, and sweet treats. This helps kids to minimalize the process of food selection and eat regular, healthy meals.
3. Dress for success with an organized closet: Take some time on Sunday evenings to plan your kids wardrobe for the week ahead. Make the process super simple by creating hanger labels for each day and pre-select outfits. Young fashionistas can take their time to express their personalities without early morning stress of digging through drawers and laundry baskets to find their favorite go-to items.
4. Make a quick getaway: Keep get-out-the-door essentials where you can actually find them. Every parent knows how last minute rushing around can cause uber stress – say goodbye to the days of rushing up and down stairs to grab a forgotten this or that. By creating a designated place by your main household exit, you’ll be able to find that sunscreen stick or those needed swim goggles. Other items to go here are the day’s lunch money, a pen for permission slips … keeping these items handy in a select drawer or basket will help to keep anxieties to a minimum.
5. Organize books and resources: It’s oh so easy for books to go missing in a bustling household. Keep library rentals and course books in book baskets where kids can “borrow” and return them as needed. You’ll find you won’t be scrambling on due dates. And your young learners will have easy access, which will enable them to study when they need to. They may even find material in there they wouldn’t otherwise explore, which helps to encourage and boost an interest in reading.
6. Screen time guidelines: Wipe away the worry of disputes over TV/game/computer time by setting guidelines before the school year begins. Put your concentration on what is most important for your kids… homework, outdoor activity time, and face-to-face socialization should be considered. Help your kids to make a chart that your kids can check off, outlining what needs to happen before its time to plop down in front of a screen.
7. Organize your street shuttle: How often do you drop your kids off from school and they’re tripping on everything they’ve tossed in the vehicle? Clear their way for fantastic day of learning by organizing a section of your ride for the items they tote. Some ideas include hangers out of suction cup hooks and portable containers for your rear hatch or trunk. Use this practice when you pick them up and you won’t be cleaning out your vehicle when you’re ready to kick off evening fun.
8. The meal of champions: Breakfast provides youngsters with the nutrition they need to get going and sustain through their day. Get them off to a great start, minus the mania! Prefilling Tupperware containers with favorite cereals is a great go-to to turn to on busy days. Keep a jug of milk handy with spoons readily available. There’s no reason to not start your kid’s day off right!
9. Celebrate in style: Parents love to display their child’s school work and awards. Make a special place for such items – utilizing magnetic refrigerator frames keeps these items in order while providing an artistic presentation your kids can take part in and pride in. Or think of a post-it board that is in clear view in a family-centric area of the home. This little trick keeps messy papers to a minimum and provide a special touch to the display.
10. Schedule downtime: Keeping a calendar is helpful – especially for parents who have multiple kids in different grades with various interests. Do your best to input regular activities such as groups, clubs, athletics, etc. But go a step beyond and take time for NOTHING. Having time to relax helps young students to reboot and reload, and get ready for their next big adventure.
The coming school year offers the opportunity to start your family off on the right step. What are you waiting for? It’s time to get organized and get those kids out the door and onto the school bus. It’s coming soon… are you ready?