We’re several weeks into the school year now…how is it going for you? Are you settling into a rhythm or are you still struggling to find order in your chaos? Truth be told, just this morning, I got all the way to school with the boys and went to get out of the car, only to find that I had left their backpacks AND their lunches sitting near the front door. Fail! So, I’ve called in a pro. How do you help your kids stay organized for school? Let’s here from Melissa at CloudMom!
It’s 3pm. Your child runs into the house, tosses his coat and shoes aside, dumps his backpack onto the counter, contents spilling out onto the floor, and runs to the fridge for his after-school snack of milk and cookies.
It seems like every day, my kids are bringing more and more things back from school. Papers, projects, little macaroni bead necklaces or magazine mosaics from art class. And it inevitably ends up everywhere! How in the world can anyone get all of these things organized? Well, having five children and living in a small apartment in NYC have taught me more than a few things. Here are my five tips on how to stay organized for school!
- Designate a work spot at home: Whether it’s the kitchen table or a personal desk, let your kids choose a place for their work when they’re at home, and encourage your child to keep it as uncluttered as possible. Only the necessary pencils, pens, paper, or calculator should be within reach. Another tip: Try to keep distractions like phones and TV at a minimum when it’s homework time at their work spot! They can also work as a nice break or reward for completing an assignment.
- Keeping their work organized: Speaking of homework, I’ve found that color-coded notebooks or folders are helpful when keeping track of your child’s school subjects! A three-ring binder can be really useful when it comes to keeping all of those loose papers together, too. Furthermore, a calendar of major projects and events that your child regularly checks and adds to can ease them into school year organization. Along with the uncluttered work space, your child will be ready to tackle any school assignment.
- Keep clutter out of their rooms: You may be thinking that your kids’ bedrooms have nothing to do with their organization for school, but at least from my experience, they do! Somehow, a lot of projects and graded papers end up in piles around (and even under) my kids’ beds. It may be a good idea to go through your child’s room every once in a while and help them move these school items to a crate or bin for the whole family to share. Or, for great papers or projects, display them on the fridge!
- Backpack organization: Every school day starts and ends with their backpacks, so it might be the most important thing to keep organized! After all, this is the way the most important papers, like permission slips that need your signature, can get back and forth from you to your child’s teachers. Backpacks with lots of pockets and compartments can help keep everything in their correct spot. Also, I would definitely recommend packing their bags as much as possible the night before, just to avoid a madhouse the next morning as you’re scrambling for those important documents!
- At school: Next time you’re at a parent-teacher conference, it might not hurt to ask if you can take a peek at your child’s desk or cubby. How are they holding up in terms of organization? If they’re not as tidy as they could be, never fear! Pencil cases can really come in handy and will keep school supplies from getting mixed up with the important papers. Even a zip-lock will do! A smart and cheap way to keep things organized. If you’re child really seems to be struggling to stay organized at school, they may need further help. Some professional guidance may be necessary if it’s getting in the way of their learning. You can find this through tutors such as Daniel Wong who specifically covers organizational skills in his course.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my organization tips and that your children have a wonderful school year! And if any parents have their own tips on organization for students, I’d love to hear them!
Melissa Lawrence, co-founder of CloudMom, lives in New York City with her husband and 5 young children. With a few parenting tricks up her sleeve, Melissa posts how-to videos and blogs for parents on a range of issues including baby, toddler, kids, fashion, travel, and well-being.
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How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Duh, duh, duh….the dreaded meltdown. With one kid, this can bring the strongest mommy to her knees. With multiples, well…the word “epic” takes on a completely new meaning. In the worst possible way.
Moral of the story? A little organization and forethought can go a long way. Considering WHY my kids were throwing tantrums and then exploring what I could do to prevent them before they started has saved me a million tears. Like I said, it’s not a perfect system. But every little bit helps.
How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Every day I pick up my children from day care to hear “They are such great kids! They had a blast today and are some of the best listeners we’ve ever had. They’re so well-behaved!” Yay, Mama win! And then we go home and they act like total demon-infested, hell-raising psychos and won’t listen to a word I say. Weekends can be brutal and I sometimes find myself praising Jesus that I decided to keep working and not stay-at-home.
sweet kids from day care?
Best Thing I Ever Did: I went to pick the kids up one day and they were enjoying themselves, so I decided to just sit and watch for a bit and let them play. Funny thing happened. I started listening to how the day care teachers communicated with my children and how they responded. And the light bulb went off. I don’t know how to speak the language my kids understand.
I started listening harder. And then I came back the next day and did it again. Now, every time I drop off or pick up, I listen. How are they talking to my kids? What are they saying? How are the kids responding? And then I mimick it at home.
Major win!!! My kids are starting to see an extension of their daily routine back into the home and it’s making sense. I say certain words they’re used to hearing and like magic, they listen. Not every time (which I suspect also happens at day care), but the majority of time. Major improvement. We are starting to speak the same language.
Sometimes I forget (or refuse to admit) that I am not my children’s primary care provider. For those of us that work outside the home, most often our kids spend the majority of their time somewhere other than with us. Sometimes, being reminded of that hurts. A lot. But truth is, they develop routines, cues and references that we’re not familiar with. We need to learn the language they are used to hearing every day so that we can communicate our needs in a way they understand. I need to speak my children’s language.
Phrase Adjustments that Worked for Me:
- “Walk away please” instead of “No!” or “Don’t Touch!”
- “Are you using your listening ears?” instead of “Listen to me!”
- “I’m going to go to work for awhile, but Mommies always come back!” instead of “Say bye to Mommy. I have to go to work.”
11 Alternatives to Self Harm: Emily Speaks
If you’re just connecting with the Emily Speaks series, be sure to check out her first post, Cyber Bullying and Self-Harm, to catch up. Today, Emily will be sharing 11 alternatives to self harm to help those hurting to make healthier choices to cope with emotional struggles.
I know it can be hard not to self-harm if you’re being bullied, but you need to try to think of other ways to deal with the pain. Cutting leaves angry scars on your body. You should try to deal with your hurt in other ways. Here are 11 good examples that will hopefully help you out a little bit.
1. Try talking to somebody about what’s going on so that you can get it out of your system.
2. Go outside where nobody is around and just scream as loud as you can for as long as you want.
3. Take a rubber band and keep it on your wrist so whenever you feel like cutting you can just take that rubber band and snap it on your wrist (softly – not to where it harms you).
4. Get an old teddy bear or stuffed animal that you don’t want and take your anger out on that.
5. Go on a jog or go out and ride your bike or long board or whatever you have and just ride around to calm yourself down.
6. Go hang out with your friend(s) and get your mind off things that would make you want to cut or do anything else to harm yourself.
7. Sleep it out and take a long nap and see how you’re feeling when you wake up.
8. Go hang out with your family and just relax.
9. Listen to some music.
10. Read a book.
11. Get an art journal and draw out your feelings. You can paint, draw pictures, even just scribble hard.
These are some of the ways that I stop myself from cutting, because I do still think about it when things get rough. When that happens, I try to do these instead and it helps. It does! You need to do anything that would take your mind off of any bad thoughts you are having and make you want to hurt yourself. This might not be the best list of ideas, but if you take a chance and try them out, they might end up working for you. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re helping everyone else around you by making a better choice to not self-harm.