For kids, the transition from easy, breezy summertime to the first day of school can be tough. No matter what age or grade level, dealing with brand new teachers, classrooms and expectations can cause many kids – and by extension, their families – anxiety and stress.
These feelings of fear or anxiety can sometimes lead to procrastination or denial, which in turn simply ramps up our feelings of stress and disorganization. The following back-to-school tips will help you be organized for the upcoming school year way ahead of time and will reduce stress for everyone.
With this noble goal in mind, you and your child can then concentrate on staying relaxed and enjoying the remaining summer hours we have left!
Visit your Child’s School
Even if they know their school inside and out, it can be very helpful to visit your child’s school before the new year. Check out their new classroom so that they know exactly where they are going on the first day. Meeting their new teacher can help reduce nerves and encourage your child to get excited about the upcoming year. If you have an older student, have them practice using their locker before the first day of school and learn how to get from one class to the next. This will help your child to organize their thoughts and visualize what they will be facing on the first day back.
Grab the Right Supplies
Make sure you shop for school supplies well in advance of the first day, avoiding last-minute chaos in the store (we know you’ve been there!). Encourage accountability by allowing your child to participate in this process by having them choose their own organizing supplies and writing their name on them. Take it a step further by spending some time at home reviewing your purchases with your child, removing packaging and labels, sharpening the pencils, and organizing their backpack. Or, you can schedule this school supplies organizing/prep session for a little closer to the first day of school – just be sure to make a date of it with your child.
Prepare for the new school year by working with your child to review and organize their bedroom. Celebrate their new grade status by donating toys, games and clothes that they have outgrown. You can even review things like bedsheets and decor, checking in with your child to see if it still fits their style. A big part of moving forward into a new year is about feeling confident in themselves and a child’s bedroom is an extension of that sense of self. Designate an area in the room where they can organize and hang up their clothes for the next morning. Start practicing that routine before school starts.
Review Last Year’s Work
If you haven’t already, review and organize your student’s work from last year. Toss old papers and binders, file mementos in a folder, binder or portfolio and set aside a pile of things to review as a refresher for the upcoming year. For younger students, organize artwork from their previous year in a portfolio (Read our post ‘“GO” Organization Tips: What To Do with Children’s Artwork?‘). Label it with the year and put it into storage. If there are too many items, take photos of the artwork or bulky pieces that you want to remember, but don’t have room to keep. Removing last year’s work will help your student to focus on moving forward to the new school year.
Set up a Homework Station
Prepare for up-and-coming homework by setting up a new homework station. Talk with your child and designate an area of the home that will be dedicated to homework time. Some considerations are noise level, surface area and proximity to other distractions. A rolling cart can be a great solution if your child plans on moving their homework area around. Be sure to organize the cart with everything the child will need to do their homework. Use your child’s classroom supply list as a guide and purchase doubles of these items for their homework cart.
We hope these organizing tips are helpful for you and your child as you navigate the beginning of a new school year.