Stress-Free Back to School: Helping Your Child Organize for Success

source: Shaina Olmanson
source: Shaina Olmanson

Last week I attended a blogcast hosted by Peter Walsh and Office Max to celebrate the launch of the Schoolio van Hoolio line of back-to-school products. These products are adorable, and the blogcast was amazing as always. Peter and the other hosts shared a ton of great tips for organizing school supplies, homework areas, backpacks and more.

The one thing that stood out most, however, was a simple point that Peter made several times: helping our children get organized sets them up for success. That’s pretty heavy stuff there, and I definitely don’t want anyone to walk away from this post feeling guilty because they haven’t done that in the past! But I think it’s an important point and one to keep in mind as you look for systems to get – and stay – organized.

On that note, here are my notes from the blogcast. I was typing furiously while trying to watch the blogcast and join in the Twitter conversation at the same time because there was so much great information that I wanted to make sure I passed on to you!

Organizing at Home

  • Having an organized home and routine increases your children’s self-confidence and assurance and helps limit their stress.
  • Keep flat surfaces around your home and in your homework area clear to help children focus.
  • Have some key organizing products to help children organize their work area. Use expanding files for projects, desktop organizers and colored folders (one per kid or subject) for papers that need to be referenced, and/or a pencil cup to keep supplies handy.

Key Tips:
1. Find your vision for the space before you start setting it up.

2. Make organization a family value.

3. Use the right tools for organization.

Organizing Kids to Help Them Succeed

  • Organization helps relieve stress in your children – and you! – and increases their confidence.
  • Establish clear routines so that everyone knows what’s expected.
  • Not every piece of paper needs to be kept in your children’s binders. Talk to the teacher about what needs to be kept in there. Also, use the pockets in the binder.
  • Clean out binders and backpacks once a week.
  • Use the sections in a backpack to help organize all of their supplies, and more importantly, teach kids how to use them as well.

From @LMKIA on Twitter: “We have a weekly clothes organizer in closets-Sun we set out the week’s outfits. makes mornings so much easier!”

From @WriterMommy on Twitter: “Backpacks should be organized, too. More pockets = more places for chaos.”

Key Tips:
1. Show children that you value organization.

2. Establish clear limits and routines.

3. Always “finish the cycle” – complete every task. Open it, close it. Empty it, replenish it. Start it, finish it.

Organizing in the Classroom

  • Go to back-to-school night to connect with your children’s teachers and learn about their expectations and systems.
  • Hover more than needed in the beginning to help them get off to the right start.
  • Rather than knickknacks and sentimental gifts, send your children’s teachers school supplies, gift cards and donations. The average teachers spends more than $1,000 out-of-pocket each year! (And now is a great time to stock up on extra supplies at great prices to send to the school.)
  • Create, maintain and value order because your children will value what you value, and it’s organization for success. On the flip side, show interest and value what your child values. Treat their concerns as legitimate.
  • Give children the responsibility to organize their stuff, and then help them be successful!

Key Tips:
1. Establish clear routines.

2. Involve kids with classroom organization.

3. Use words, pictures and color to help organize.

Don’t miss this week’s back to school for pennies deals at Office Max, and be sure to check out the Schoolio von Hoolio Cupcake and Darling Collections while you’re there!

Have you ever considered the benefits of being organized for your children rather than just for yourself? (I know I hadn’t!)