Last Updated: Oct. 4, 2018
Stocking up on student supplies is an end-of-summer ritual that helps you establish a structured school routine. What really makes the difference is how all those items are organized at home, when school and sports schedules move into full speed and everyone in the family is involved in multiple activities.
Create a central school space at home that you use consistently. An entryway is the obvious choice, even though there’s often not enough room to maneuver and organize. Give yourself enough room for not only backpacks but all those extra things that tend to come and go on a school day. Establish a separate drawer or shelf specifically for important school notices that need parental review and signatures. Beware of “content creep,” when important items are removed from backpacks and book bags, drift throughout the house and disappear forever.
Encourage your child to clean out their drawer or cubby weekly. Make it part of their chore list or make a game out of keeping it organized. Whatever lasts until Friday night, probably has outlived its usefulness. Having a clutter-free and organized drop zone allows you to get out of the house much faster each morning for school and on the weekend for games, tournaments and other outdoor activities.
During homework sessions, encourage your child to start with the most challenging assignment or to start with the homework for the least favorite subject. They’ll be more focused at the beginning and find it easier to complete homework when the easier tasks are saved for the end. By teaching the habit of constantly organizing the busy intersection of home and school, your child learns to establish priorities and manage time to have extra time for the things they enjoy most, like playing competitive sports and engaging in outdoor activities with friends and family.