8 Tips to Prepare Your Child for School!
Whether it is your child’s 1st day of school or their 5th year, going back to school can be stressful!
Here are Catherine’s top strategies to help you prepare for the beginning of the school year:
1. Get the details
Find out what the school will and will not provide so you can create your shopping list accordingly. I remember we made a big deal about buying the matching (and monogrammed) Cars backpack, lunchbox and water bottle only to find out that my son’s school issues clear backpacks and provides all drinks and snacks. Make sure to also get the 411 on the dress code before you click “Add to Cart”.
2. Refresh your child’s closet and dresser
A cluttered closet and dresser are huge sources of frustration (not to mention total time thieves!) for parents and children. Schedule time to declutter and tidy your child’s closet and dresser before the first day. Adding simple picture labels to drawers makes it easy for your child to find his/her undergarments, shirts, pants, etc. This will not only encourage independence and the
development of good organizational skills – it will save you time in the morning and evening.
3. Create a “daily drawer”
Organize daily essentials, like a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb/brush, gel, and hair ties in a shallow bathroom drawer that is easy for your child to access. Having all of these items in one place will save you time and hassle.
4. Use a checklist
Similar to the picture labels, a visual checklist outlining what your child has to do before heading out the door (i.e., make bed, put dirty clothes away, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, and comb hair) is a great tool to set expectations and establish routine.
5. Create a drop zone
Just like at school, add a hook and a basket by the front door or in a coat closet so that when your child comes home, they have a place to neatly stash their gear. This doesn’t need to be Pinterest perfect to function well – Command hooks and a simple Target bin do the job well.
6. Adjust your nighttime routine
Make lunch, pick an outfit, and pack the backpack and put it by the door each night before school. The more you prepare and plan the night before, the less you have to worry about in the morning, especially if there’s a “But I wanted almond butter, not peanut butter!” meltdown.
7. Plan for paper
There will be forms and LOTS of artwork. Without a plan, it will quickly accumulate on all your flats surfaces. Read 4 Simple Steps for Eliminating Paper Clutter and The Foolproof Way to Organize Your Kids’ Artwork for easy and helpful tips on how to manage both.
8. Build 5 minutes of “talk time” into your morning routine
Even if your child is an up-for-anything adventurer, the transition to school can be tough. Many children require extra attention and support during this time. I found that when I took five minutes with my son to snuggle, talk, and reconnect first thing in the morning that his anxiety started to go down. Three years into school and we still do this. It helps us both ease into the morning instead of starting the day on a rushed note. I also love that even if the rest of the morning (or day for that matter!) doesn’t go as planned, at least we had those few minutes.
Article Written By Catherine Gibel, MSW, Professional Organizer
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