The supplies are bought and school is in session. So… now what? While the back-to-school rush begins to slow down and your family settles into the new school year, it’s time to help your kids organize new supplies and learn practical homework habits before their lessons take off. Not sure where to start? We’ve compiled a list of tips and ideas you can use to help them navigate their new responsibilities. Get ready! Your child is about to slay this school year.
Help Your Kids Stay Focused with a Homework Station or Learning Area
Encourage your child to stay focused, assert their independence, and take ownership of their responsibilities by creating a designated homework station.
When children are asked to work on their assignments in places they associate with family time or relaxation, such as the kitchen table or their bed, they’re more susceptible to distractions and unnecessary requests for help on assignments. By providing the addition of a learning area or homework station, they’ll be more likely to understand the importance of schoolwork and the separation between playtime and homework time. In addition, the action of leaving their homework station to seek out a parent’s assistance creates an empowering environment for children and encourages confidence in their own abilities.
A Personal Desk Offers Plenty of Room for Everything Except Distractions
Yes, youth and nimbleness allows them to do their homework almost anywhere, and many kids may even claim to prefer working on the floor. However, providing your child with a desk helps to reinforce their association between work completed at school and homework. A personal desk in the home also signifies the parents’ respect for education and recognition of the child’s ability to handle personal responsibilities.
If a desk doesn’t fit your budget or space, you can easily make your own desk for a fraction of the cost. A large shelf with sturdy brackets can easily be used for a make-shift desk. To make the shelf desk more fun and purposeful for the child, we recommend using a ShelfTrack hang track and bracket system, which can be easily purchased at a hardware store.
A wire hang track system allows the shelf placement (ie: desk) to move up and down two or three long brackets. As your child grows taller grow taller, the shelf can move up with them. As a reminder of your child’s milestones, you can mark a line of your child’s desk at the beginning of each school year. The rising marks on the wall are a fun visual reminder of your student’s personal and educational growth over the years.
Organizing the Desk
Whether you choose to go with a child’s desk or make-shift shelf desk, you’ll need a few items to help your child stay organized and have easy access to the supplies they need.
Keep your child organized and engaged by opting for vibrant organizers in their favorite colors. This solution is simple and can make a world of difference in keeping your child’s stress and worrying to a minimum. Plastic organizers for supplies, project materials, and papers help students keep track of school work and ongoing projects.
Transparent containers or small crates are great for storing and providing your child with easy access to essential supplies like markers, pencils, pens, highlighters, and glue sticks. For parents, the plastic open organizers and open containers allow you to clearly see when certain supplies are running low, helping you easily monitor their stash and replace items as needed.
Start Filling From Day One
Whether it’s a note from their doctor, permission form, or important assignment, it’s best to start the year by filing away all important papers. In-case the school loses your child’s physical document or permission slip, you’ll have every document organized and ready to clear up any mishaps. You can also keep important personal documents your child may be asked for during the year, as well as on-going projects they need to keep track of. Files can be stored in desk organizers, containers, or appropriately sized bins neatly housed under their homework station.
A Chair Fit for a Kid
Instead of having your child borrow a “grown-up” chair from another room or use a fun novelty chair they may associate with playtime, invest in an inexpensive child’s chair. Instead of feeling too small for a grown-up sized chair, they’ll feel empowered and confident in their abilities when seated in a chair specifically designed for their small frame. Child-sized chairs can also help your child practice good posture when working.
Encourage and Reward their Independence
Avoid arguments and power struggles by pointing out the positive repercussions of your child’s actions when the complete schoolwork on time. Your child will learn to view play time, trips to the parks, and outdoor recreation as direct results of their dedication to completing school work.
Another way to reward your child’s independence and hard work is by allowing them to choose when they would prefer to finish their work. Some children need a break after school, and prefer to do their homework before or after dinner. Other children may be too tired to complete their work later in the evening, and it may be best to have them finish all school work immediately after school. If your child begins to slack on their assignments, then you may have to take away their “grown-up” privilege of choosing a homework time until they prove they can complete the work and deserve the right to have a say in their schedule.
Have Excess Clutter? The Answer is Always a Tub Away
Avoid after school items cluttering your home by allotting your child a large tub they can toss backpacks and school items in after classes. A drop-and-go tub is easy to use and an easy habit for your child to maintain. Tubs and large containers provide quick storage and easy access for extracurricular activity clothing, sports gear, duffle bags, and project materials. Simply placing a tub in your child’s room is an easy solution to combat the cluttered mess formerly known as your child’s bedroom.
If you have the room, we recommend adding a second tub for “borrowed items”. This tub can be a life-saver for library books, or items on loan from a friend. By making it easier for your child to keep personal items separate from items they have to return, you’ll save yourself from exorbitant late fees, as well as awkward apologies to the school’s library or your child’s overly generous best friend.
Tubs or large storage boxes are also a convenient way to save projects throughout the year. The tub can be kept in a closet and used to save finished projects throughout the year. When the school year ends, you and your child can quickly sort through their array of projects and decide which assignments are worth saving.
Find A Compromise Between an After-School Snack and Spoiled Supper
An after-school snack bin lets kids satiate their hunger without raiding the kitchen or ruining their dinner. By placing all snack options in one container, you’ll create easy-to-understand limits on food options and the amount they can eat after school. They’ll have fun choosing from an array of options, and you can rest easy knowing they’ll have plenty of room for a healthy meal by dinner-time.
Morning Lunch Prep Made Easy
It’s hard enough to get everyone ready and where they need to be in the morning. Make it easier on yourself by using clear containers in your kitchen whenever possible. Opting for clear containers in your pantry reduces unnecessary stress in the morning by providing easy visibility on available lunch items. The transparent containers are also a great way to help you stay in-the-know on what’s running low and what pantry items need to be replenished.
Ditch the brown paper bag and disposable plastic bags by choosing a reusable multi-compartment lunch container to store your child’s lunch. The lid won’t budge, and can easily be kept in their backpack or inside their favorite lunch box without the worry of leaks or spills. Compartments allow you to create healthier lunches with more variety, as each meal component will stay fresh and separated until lunch-time. Crunchy items stay crunchy and moist items remain moist. The three compartments can also help groggy, not-fully-caffeinated parents remember to pack a balanced meal in the early morning rush, complete with with appropriate portions of fruit, vegetables, and protein.
Have any tips you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your favorite parent hacks to help children stay organized and keep your sanity intact during the school year! Let us know in the comments or by using the hashtag #SOGOSlaySchool