Organize For Back To School

Systems To Keep Back To School Simple

Set up routines kids will stick to

Tired of being a nag in the morning? Feel like a broken record barking out things like “Don’t forget your lunch!” and “Have you packed your homework?”. Stop the insanity. Set up a simple system that will get them out the door while keeping your frustration levels down. At our house, we have a “Before School Plan”, which is a chart listing all of their morning duties. My kids mark off each duty as they complete it and if they do them all without a verbal reminder, they earn a check mark in my wonderful and elaborate Check Mark Reward System. If you want to avoid messy charts taped to your wall, check out this little beauty. The “Ready, Set, Go Board” has visual cues that assist in self-organization.

Organization starts with you!

Everything has a home. Each child has a cubby for their agendas and homework. There is nothing worse than running around in the morning trying to find gym shoes. Avoid the chaos by designating a location for all school and lunch supplies. Get most of your organization done the night before – pack lunches, lay out school clothes – I even put the cereal on the table!

Streamline lunch-packing

If you can pack lunches the night before, that’s the way to go. Freezing sandwiches to use throughout the week, or even making casseroles and soups on the weekend to throw into a Thermos, is a favourite with my kiddos. Got yourself a little juice addict? I say cut them off cold turkey style. Water is the best drink for kids at school and it’s easier on the environment than the hundreds of little juice boxes you’d use in a year. If you have a child with allergies, be sure to put an Allergy Alert label on all of their reusable lunch containers to ensure caregivers are aware.

Save money and time by planning ahead

Shop off-season, clear out closets to assess what can be handed down and for goodness’ sake, label all clothing to make sure it comes home at the end of the school day. There is nothing more horrifying than the lost and found closets at elementary schools!

Veteran mother, Julie Cole has six very young children in her charge and is the co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc. She has encountered more than her share of fellow moms looking for advice, primarily about how she manages to juggle life with such a large brood.

With humour, she provides an upfront view of life in a busy family, including honesty about cereal for dinner, monstrous carpool schedules, and advocating for her child with autism.

Julie has become a well-known personality amidst Canadian moms. Her charismatic, dynamic personality has led to various speaking engagements, from morning TV shows to university level business classes.  Read Julie's blog for a motherload of practical advice on babies, balance, bedlam and beyond...

Follow Julie on Twitter or email her at [email protected]