Back to School: Organizing Tips for Low-Stress Success

Here we go! Another school year has begun. Our kids are faced with all the usual ups and downs of school now with the added challenges of the pandemic. We can all agree that the school year comes with stressors for both parents and children.

How can we alleviate some of the stress? Organization, of course! Keeping school supplies and assignments in order removes the anxieties of lost homework, overstuffed backpacks and confused planners. Follow these guidelines to set your child up for success this year.

Backpack Tips

A child’s backpack is like their home away from home. This is where they store their personal items along with their tools for success. It may not seem like a big deal to us, but to them, their backpack contains all the things they CAN control while they attend school. Here’s how to achieve the best backpack:

LET THEM CHOOSE (within reason):
Having a personal connection to their backpack will motivate your child to treat it with respect. Let them pick the style, pattern etc. However, encourage them to select a good quality bag, with at least 2 large zippered sections and one small section.

Use different sections of the backpack as zones for different categories. Perhaps the largest section will contain books and sturdier items.
The front section may contain folders and papers (items that are more delicate and can get squashed by heavy books.
Use the small pocket in the very front for items like pencils, chapstick and hand sanitizer.

Use small zipper bags (like pencil pouch bags) to corral each category of loose items. Use a bag for masks, another for pens and pencils, one for erasers and tools etc.

Use a specific color for each subject. Orange is science, red is math, blue is history etc. Buy a folder, notebook and pen for each subject’s color.

Having some comfort in the face of the unknown is huge! A few band aids, an extra mask, feminine supplies, and an emergency snack are great!

Teach them to return it to its home each time they arrive from school. A hook in their room or by the front door is simple to install.

This really helps. Your child WILL be rushed from time to time. Things WILL end up in the wrong spot. Trash and clutter WILL build up. Get your child in the habit of restoring order to their backpack each and every week. An ounce of prevention will eliminate major disorganization later on.

Homework Area

First of all, create a spot for homework. Getting in the routine of sitting at this specific spot will tell your child’s brain that it’s time for homework.

Remove distractions. Set them up for success by clearing the area of clutter, noise and siblings (unless they stay productive together).

Purge unnecessary items from the area. They don’t need 100 pencils. 3 or 4 will do just fine. One fidget toy may be helpful but 10 will become distracting. Use your judgement or simply observe what pulls their attention away from work.

Designate a time in your schedule for homework. A good routine is an effective way to motivate your child. If they know what to expect (homework time from 3-5 each day) they will be likely to relax into the schedule.

Planner / Assignments

Encourage your kids to use a planner while at school – have them ask their teacher for all assignments. Remind them that it is OK to ask questions if they aren’t clear. Getting the correct assignments written down is crucial to homework success!

Color code homework assignments in the planner – they can use a color pen which matches the color they selected for that subject. If math is red, use a red pen to write math work down. Color coding might seem a bit “extra” but it helps the brain quickly identify what is expected.

Choose a planner with full month pages as well as individual day pages. The full month spread will help them plan ahead for assignments which are due later on.

We are all motivated by different things. Positive reinforcement means that you give something (like a reward) to encourage the behaviors you want.

Consider offering your child rewards for keeping their backpack and homework organized. A small treat per week and a larger reward each month will keep your child motivated to keep up with these healthy behaviors.

Organization is a lifestyle choice. You can apply it in almost any area of your life to reduce stress and boost productivity. If you are unsure how to get organized, or need help getting your child organized, give Imagine Home Organization a call.

For tips, tricks and organizing inspiration, check us out on Instagram, and Facebook @imaginehomeorganization.

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