Back to School Organization Tips for Busy Families
Sadly, summer’s over and it’s back to school for the many families we serve. The transition from lazy summer days back to a regimented schedule where it’s early to rise, afternoons filled with activities and last-minute dinners can be pretty jarring. We’ve put together a list of tips and tricks to help you get – and stay – on a healthy, happy track throughout the school year.
Ring That Morning Bell
Alarm clocks can be more than just those annoying things that drag us out of dreamtime. Set multiple alarms at strategic intervals in the morning to keep everyone moving toward the door. Consider setting alarms for when everyone needs to be brushing their teeth. Alarms can be great warnings, too. Set one as a 10-minute warning that you’re heading out the door.
Post a Morning Checklist — And Tie it to a Reward
A checklist is another morning motivator that can help younger kids become more independent. List morning tasks on a dry erase board and encouraging them to check each task off without prodding. A simple checklist with no more than five items (including brushing those teeth!) will work for children ages 5 and up. Establish a reward system for daily or weekly completion.
Equip the Car
Ensure there’s no reason to turn back because someone forgot a pencil. Stock a backseat car organizer with extra pens and pencils, tissues and maybe even some extra snack bars in case someone slept late and missed breakfast.
Start a Self-Serve Snack Station
Clear a pantry shelf or a kitchen drawer that’s low enough for your kids to reach and stock it with healthy afterschool snacks. Dried fruits granola and nuts are great options. Use clear plastic containers to store loose snacks so you can tell when it’s time to refill.
Create a Command Central
Making it a habit to dig those permission slips out of backpacks as soon as you get home will save you from last-minute chaos in the mornings. Encourage children to unload important papers immediately so you have time to review and return papers to backpacks before returning them to their nighttime homes.
Create a Supply Stash
You know it’s bound to happen. It’s 9 p.m. on a Tuesday and your son tells you he needs a poster board for school tomorrow. Avoid the late night or early morning rush to the store by stocking a cabinet with the most frequently needed school items: loose leaf paper, index cards, glue sticks, markers and regular and colored pencils make a good start.
Designate a Home for Backpacks and Shoes
Getting everyone up, fed and ready to go with their teeth brushed is stressful enough about having to look for the basics every morning. Create a storage area for backpacks and books close to the door you usually exit and make it part of your kids’ nighttime routine to ensure their backpacks and shoes are in their home.
Brush Teeth Immediately After Dinner
Getting kids in the habit of brushing their teeth immediately after dinner (like putting their dishes away) helps alleviate the rush to bed later on and is a great deterrent to nighttime snacking.
Hand out Floss Picks for TV Time
This is another great way to keep fidgety hands busy while watching tv and avoid after-dinner snacking. Plus, it ensures that your family is taking care of the 30 percent of tooth surface that’s not reachable with a toothbrush.
We at Aspen Grove Dental wish you a wonderful, safe school year and we look forward to supporting all your oral health needs.