The new school year is quickly approaching, which means those lazy summer days are coming to an end. It’s back to schedules, routines, and homework. Unfortunately, the start of the school year triggers a whole new set of frustrations for parents. Three of the biggest are:
1.) Rushed mornings. Kids can’t find homework, shoes, etc.
2.) Dinner. What to prepare and how to fit healthy meals into a hectic schedule.
3.) Homework. Kids can’t find supplies, don’t want to do it, or they wait until the last minute.
In honor of “back-to-school,” I want to share my family's strategies for organizing the morning and homework routines.
The key to a stress-free morning is a getting prepared the night before. For years, I’ve heard “I can’t find my homework” and “I can’t find my shoes.” Most days started with yelling, threats of being late to school, and, on really bad days, someone could end up in tears.
On the verge of insanity, I instituted a routine that has made the mornings easier on everyone. Since homework and mornings go hand-in-hand, I came up with a schedule that would improve both areas.
In addition to a routine that we follow, I have a large plastic box filled with every school supply you can imagine. I stock up every August when they stores are practically giving them away. Everyone knows where this box is located so I never have to hear that they can’t find the supplies they need to complete their homework. As a bonus, they refill their school supplies whenever they are getting low and I never have to make a last-minute run to the store to buy a box of crayons.
With all of my kids’ extracurricular activities, we have to be flexible, but they still know what has to be accomplished before going to bed at night -- it’s posted in their rooms just in case they “forget.” The best part is that I don’t have to worry about things falling through the cracks if I need to be away on a school night.
Here is the strategy that works for my family. Use it as a guide to find a routine that works for yours and apply it consistently until it becomes a habit.
1.) Snack or dinner: depending on what time we get home.
2.) Homework: This also includes required reading, studying for upcoming tests, and projects that need attention. Homework is not considered finished until it is checked, the planner is signed, and papers are placed in the proper folder, returned to the backpack, and placed by the door. Once they have finished their homework, they are free to do what they want.
3.) Shoes: must be placed by the door before bed.
4.) Supplies, permission slips, money: Anything needed for the next day must be signed or requested the night before and not in the morning.