It’s back to school season, as I’m sure you are aware! Many of you have already been back for a few weeks. We started this past week- a couple days after labor day. This time of year can sometimes feel like a second New Year. Pushing a reset button on a lot of things and looking for ways to reorganize our lives. It’s a good time to re-establish routines or make new ones so the days and weeks go smoother for everyone in the family. Utilizing routine checklists and making a few easy systems can make a huge difference!
There are sooo many things to organize and keep track of when it comes to school. The paperwork and artwork that comes home, school lunches, healthy fast breakfast, and keeping track of everyone’s schedules. Most importantly, making sure your kids remember to do all the things like brushing their teeth and doing homework.
In our home, we are working with preschool, but many of these tips can be applied to daycare schedules and getting your 2 year old involved in routines and daily responsibilities. As well as older kids of course.
Routines & Independence
My first goal is to make sure I’m not holding up absolutely everything in the house. I want my kids to have a sense of what is required of them and not have to remind them fifty billion times. It’s always a work in progress, but trust me- I kept at it with my 3 year old. He just turned 4 and he HAPPILY sets the table and feeds our dog Nahla. Many times it was a battle, but over time he just became to accept it as his contribution to the household. His feisty 2 year old brother looks up to him and is getting on board with the chores as well.
This holds true for brushing teeth and getting himself dressed in the morning. I personally have to let go a little bit of control because since I’ve pushed this independence, he also wants to pick out his clothes. And man! He picks out the craziest combinations! But hey- at least he does it himself while I dress myself or his brother.
We’ve undertaken this by printing out daily routine chore charts, but I’ve realized that it can take a lot to actually print, cut out, and make the system. Having a way for kids to hold themselves accountable can all be accomplished just as easily with a few checklists! So of course, I made some. 🙂 If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you may already realize that I’m not a stranger to checklists and they really do help!
There are 3 total and you can set them up wherever makes the most sense for your household. Print on 8×10 cardstock first. Then, laminate them or just pop em in an 8×10 frame, your son or daughter can use a dry erase marker to check off items as they are finished. They will wipe off easily on either surface for use the next day.
I used pictures because I start using these at age 2 or 3 when reading isn’t mastered yet. The photos help guide them along their checklist.
We have found that cleaning up, feeding pets and setting the table are great chores for toddlers and preschoolers. If my son said he didn’t feel like doing it, we just remind him that we all do our part to contribute to the household. Even if I don’t feel like cooking everyone dinner, I still do it because the family is counting on me to do my part.
5 Simple Organization Hacks
A family command center! I love these and we have a very small version because I couldn’t find a wall area suitable. Essentially it can organize all the paperwork, to do lists, calendar and events for everyone in the family. I love this post about how to create a command center and all the essential elements to include.
Using a hanging closet organizer to plan out the week’s outfits is genius! It adds to less nightly and morning chores if it is laid out each Sunday.
Talking about planning for the week, having a lunch organizer in your fridge can take a lot of the stress out of packing lunches. If there are choices, your child can take an active role picking out what they want to include each day. Also, these are some of my favorite lunch ideas – all in fun bento boxes.
I don’t know about you, but I try to have as much planned for the mornings as possible. I’m just not a huge morning person and planning ahead helps A LOT. Which is why I love doing this breakfast meal prep, where we make a bunch of oatmeal muffins and egg muffins that are all ready for us to heat up and eat in the morning.
Finally, we don’t have homework yet at our house. But I love these ideas of a DIY homework caddy and a dedicated homework station. Even as an adult, I need a dedicated workspace that is different than I do other things in the house. So a homework area can get your child more focused on what they are trying to accomplish. Especially if all the supplies they need are also integrated into the space.
And that’s it! Hope you have an amazing school year that is a little less stressful and more enjoyable. 🙂
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