Whip Your Home Into Shape Before the School Year Starts
With the first day of school right around the corner, it’s time to start prepping not only the kids, but also your home for the first day back to academic life. While it’s important to gather all of the school supplies, yummy snacks, and cute back-to-school outfits, you should also be thinking about what you can do in your home to create a new space for the new season.
Having your home organized around the school day can make it easier to get out of the house on time in the mornings, and also to help keep the kids motivated to work on homework in the afternoons. In fact, research has shown that good organization and a sense of routine can help kids maintain greater security as they learn self discipline. According to the Child Development Institute, there is a link between a clean, well organized home and the educational success of the kids who live there.
The institute references a study done by multiple scholars from Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and Northwestern University. The study showed that kids who grow up in a clean, organized home are more likely to carry those habits into their adult life. So why not set your kids up for success with a few easy tricks to get your home organized and ready for the busy school year ahead.
1) Entryway or Mudroom
When the kids come home from school, they’ll probably be tired and want to just throw their backpacks, coats, and shoes on the ground by the door. Instead, set up an organized zone near the door where each person in your family has a space to hang their coat and store their shoes.
Get the kids in the habit of keeping their outer layers and shoes organized before the school year even starts. That way, when the first day comes along, they’ll know what to do. Keeping backpacks and coats in one place near the door will also make it easier to get out the door on time in the morning as you’ll be able to avoid the scramble when one kid can’t find their backpack.
2) Get Your Kitchen Ready for School Lunches
Before the first day of school, go through all the “non perishable” items in your pantry and throw out anything that’s expired. Restock with healthy snacks that will be good for school lunches. Items that come in bulk like trail mix, veggie chips, and dried fruit can be divvied out into reusable snack bags ahead of time to make it easier to grab when making school lunches. Use this same principle in your fridge, clearing out any items that have been sitting in the back of the fridge all summer.
Before the first day of school, practice the morning routine with the kids so that they know what to do to help prepare quick breakfasts and to-go lunches. Section off a space on the counter for a lunch prep station, and let the kids play a role in choosing what goes in their lunches.
3) Organize the Closets for Back to School Outfits
In a similar way to how you went through the fridge, go through the closets and get rid of any clothes that are too small or too worn. Put summer essentials like bathing suits into storage to clear up room in the closet for fall and winter clothes. This is also a good chance to take inventory of anything that the kids have outgrown or need replaced, like new school shoes.
Use back-to-school season to reset and get the kids’ rooms organized, almost like a second chance at spring cleaning. Set up a space in each room where the kids can lay out their outfits the night before so that they don’t waste time in the morning digging around for that missing sock.
4) Prep the Homework Space
Whether the kids have their own desks in their room or they prefer to do their work on the kitchen table, make sure there is a clear space with few distractions and all the supplies they need to get their work done. Make sure sharp pencils, calculator, and scrap paper are easily accessible at the work space.
While a lot of homework these days uses technology as an aid, you’ll want to make sure that technology is not a distraction. To accomplish this, the homework space should be away from the TV. Laptops, phones, and tablets should be used only for homework help.
You can download apps that will block access to distracting sites and other apps and games. If tech distraction is an issue for your kids, set up the homework space in the kitchen or somewhere you can be present to supervise and help out.
5) Create a Relaxation Nook
According to Reader’s Digest, tutoring centers and experts recommend that kids have at least 30 minutes to unwind after school before they sit down to start working on homework. Create a space in your home that the kids feel comfortable just relaxing in. A reading nook — a comfy chair with a soft pillow where kids can sit down with an easy read — is a good alternative to a couch right in front of the TV.
The intention of all of your back-to-school home organization should be to make the transition back to school an easy one. Think about the specific needs of your family when it comes to morning prep, afternoon decompression, and homework time. The organization of your home should be conducive to the success of your kids at school.