Do you ever find that when it’s time to go out the door to school that your child doesn’t know where their backpack is exactly, which means they didn’t put that paper you signed into the backpack either. The lunch bag is up on the kitchen counter ready to go, but only because you had to go hunt it down before hand. And the sheer magnitude of papers that the children bring home from school makes the pile on the counter slide over until it spills onto the floor. And your child asks you why you weren’t at the class project display party today, which would be because you never saw the letter sent home by the teacher… *sigh* *hugs*
I’d like to share with you some ideas I’ve implemented to solve these problems. *smile*
- Lunch bags
- School papers
- Our exiting-the-car slogan
I knew when 7 of our 9 children were going to be heading off to public school in the fall of 2016 that those backpacks were going to need a “home”. *laugh* Otherwise the backpacks would be spilled all over the garage floor with their contents. Not only would we waste a lot of time, but people would be likely falling over everything, angry and blaming one another, and heading out the door with scowls and complaints. But this can be avoidable with a proactive plan. *smile*
Our teenage son (not pictured) is actually the one who suggested putting up hooks along a certain area of our garage for each child to hang their back up on. I thought this was brilliant! *cheer!* And the bags would hang just off the floor where children could easily get in and out of the backpacks, load and unload them, keep them upright and organized, and in a designated location so there is no searching in the morning. Not only has this plan been very practical, simple, and time-efficient, but it looks uncluttered which puts most mom’s hearts and minds at rest and makes the home pleasant to be in. And these same results were desired for the 7 lunch bags as well.
It seems to be a universal problem in public schooling homes getting kids ready for school in the morning efficiently and out the door on time. I did not want to live a lifestyle of daily irritability and frustration (internally personally for mom, if not with the children also), so coming up with a plan to alleviate this as much as possible is what I strove to do.
Many if not most people live in average, smaller homes without extensive counter space. Our very small small house (1500 square feet) for the 11 of us makes for very little kitchen counter space. Without the ability to designate a drawer or cupboard to the to the often times many lunch bags, which would be my first choice. So – plan B is to have a designated space where they can “live”, both on week days and for weekends.
It is a good idea to have an older child assigned the job of cleaning out the lunch bags. They can remove garbage and uneaten food and put them away, and put the cooler packs back into the freezer for the next day. Then leave the bags out on the counter for the next morning, airing out, and pushed back against the kitchen wall during the week. On Friday afternoons we can be relieved to remove those bags to a closet or pantry shelf, or if that’s not available then to the floor of the master walk-in closet if necessary. *laugh* But there’s no sense in trying to work around those for two-and-a-half days.
I encourage you to include the children in helping take care of basic things like lunch bags. There is absolutely no reason why the this should be a job for Mom when she has countless other jobs she can be doing that the children can’t do for her. *smile* When she can designate she often times should. This is good for both Mom and the children, who need to learn what real-life tasks include. To gain an appreciation of the effort, use some of their time and energy to bless others, and begin learning to live in and accept the daily-daily tasks with a good attitude. Organization is a character trait that will bless them their whole lives.
If your children are like ours, as soon as they get into the car they start handing over their paper work. *smile* I do encourage this personally because once we enter the house the children are eager to run off to the next thing and paper work is forgotten. So when they scramble into the car with backpacks and coats and excited chatter, we encourage them to show us all their treasures! Which usually brings to me the important papers meant for parents as well. *wink* Once that pile is carted into the house with me from the car, however, is when I need a plan for it.
Here’s an idea for approaching that pile so that it does not live on the limited counter space, or worse tucked into a corner somewhere where it then I’m sure breeds and multiplies. *chuckle* As soon as I have a moment from questions and comments and after school snack and next activities, then I sort and clear away that pile.
First I sift through and find all the parental information pages, which I always have 7 duplicates of from 7 different teachers. I keep one to read when I’m done and put the rest in the garbage.
Then I look for any papers I need to sign and return. It usually only takes a minute to skim the page and get it signed, then I call that student to me and ask them to take that paper straight back to their backpack folder so it’s sure to get returned to the teacher the next day.
Now all I have left is the school work. I sort this into piles per child on the dining room table and then re-stack it into a single pile. I then carry that with me and take a 5-10 minute walk to find the authors and artists themselves, where I glance through their work in my hands together with them, praising their efforts and new achievements for a minute each. They beam and receive the encouragement and then keep on with their activity, and I take that pile downstairs and disperse individual children’s work into their personal stuff boxes to be kept by them. *smile* Done. I does take a little personal training to be on purpose with this pile to avoid paper-breeding, however it’s a good one to develop. And we also need to teach children to learn the discipline of dealing with responsibilities upon arriving home.
Our exiting-the-car slogan
When children exit a vehicle it seems to be human nature to either excitedly leave things behind in the car, or to enter the house and strip off shoes, coats, and backpacks and simple scamper off leaving things on the floor! *laugh* Well this may seem cute or funny when it’s someone else’s children – but not usually when it’s our own. *wink* *chuckle* Especially when it’s a bunch of kids which means a floor one can’t walk through. So when we are pulling into the drive way I say to our children, “Remember…” And they finish my sentence for me by repeating something they’ve heard me say say every day since school started, “…Hang it, take it, shoes!” *laugh* Which means, hang up your backpack, take out your lunch bag, put your shoes on the rack. And it’s actually sinking in. Fun little slogans that stick in a child’s mind can be a friendly reminder of what they should be doing, so that they can be successful and be a blessing – which they like to be. *smile*
I’m sure many of you have lots more ideas of how you keep things organized for school! Please share your ideas with the rest of us as well! I love a treasure trove of ideas to draw from and switch up to when the first idea becomes too commonplace to kiddos and cease to be effective. A new idea can be fresh and fun and successful.
Blessings on your school orderliness efforts,