Back-to-school tips for busy families
Back-to-school time means a sudden influx of papers, artwork, homework and reading logs. Dedicating a few areas of your house to school organization will help make mornings and evenings less stressful for the whole family.
Build a reading nook
A dedicated area for reading takes up only a small area in a home, but it can make a big difference in a child’s attitude about reading. Available books, a comfortable place to sit and a family understanding that readers should be left to read can serve double duty as a reading nook and a place for kids to decompress after a busy day.
The quiet spot doesn’t need to be complicated. Storing books with their covers facing forward can encourage interest in a variety of books. A simple beanbag chair — we love the Cool Beans! Bean Bag — and a forward-facing shelf make for a special reading area (Land of Nod, $99). The Tidy Books Bunk Bed Shelves are perfect for a reading nook (Tidy-Books.com, $89). They store books and have room for journals, pens and bookmarks.
Design a homework center
Homework done at the kitchen island while scarfing down breakfast is bound to have a few mistakes — though all moms know the morning scramble for a forgotten assignment is bound to happen at least once in a while. Most of the time, kids shouldn’t have to worry about their notebook sliding into an errant pile of after-school snack crumbs. A homework center gives kids a place to work on their assignments neatly.
Having their own space, whether it’s a desk in his bedroom or a side table for her in a shared family space, gives kids a bit of responsibility over their homework. Start small, with a Utility Caddy that keeps pencils, scissors, colored pencils and erasers together on a work surface (PBTeen.com, $25). Be sure the homework area has enough light with the Clip It, Now Clip It Good Lamp (Land of Nod, $29).
Stay organized with a family command center
One of the toughest parts about keeping kids organized during the beginning of the school year — and the middle and the end, to be honest — is making sure paperwork and important dates don’t get lost in the rush in or out of the door. Identify the door through which you enter and exit the majority of the time and set up a command center to keep everyone organized. A mudroom is a wonderful place for an organizational center, but any wall space or spare corner near your door works just as well — if you plan ahead.
You can build your own center, but Tidy Books has taken some of the guess work out of what you’ll need with the Forget Me Not (Tidy-Books.com, $72). Even preschoolers can learn to hang their backpacks on the sturdy hooks, and reminder notices, permission slips and reading logs can be magnetically attached to the board so you don’t forget them in the morning. To maximize organization and minimize missed appointments, consider adding a calendar above the family organizer. We love the Oh! What a Week! Schedule Pad with its personalization option and bright colors (ErinCondren.com, $30).
What are your go-to tips for staying organized during the school year?
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