Heading back to school brings up a lot of mixed feelings in families. Some kids might be so excited to get back to their friends and favourite subjects, while others might be dreading the early mornings and (potential) school uniforms.
The same mixed feelings happen with us moms. Some of us are looking forward to the predictable structure of the school year, while others may be a bit hesitant to fully embrace the daily slog of making lunches, helping with homework and filling in an endless supply of permissions forms.
No matter which category of mom you find yourself in, these back-to-school organizational ideas will help make the transition a whole lot easier—for you and the kids.
Meal prep more than just dinner
We’ve all seen the Instagram posts from our fittest friends and fitness fanatics. 8-10 Tupperware containers laid out perfectly with their meals for the week neatly displayed, including snacks and everything they need to make it through the week.
Take this practice and put it into your own life. Spend some time on Sundays—as a family—and get school lunches packed for the week. Throw a couple of easy-to-freeze meals in a slow cooker and have dinners for the week ready to go, too. Head over to The Brown Paper Bag for more tips on the best meals to prep ahead.
Have “emergency” kits ready to go
When was the last time you pulled up to school drop off only to realize your kid forget their calculator/pen/notebook/add in miscellaneous item here? While it isn’t an “emergency” per se, it sure does feel like one when the bell is about to ring and your kid is approaching meltdown territory.
Avoid the panic and ensuing drive back to the house by stashing some pre-made go-bags in your car. Fill one with all the school supplies your kids use regularly, another with all your first aid needs, one with all the tech items you use (think chargers, spare cords, batteries), and one with extra gym clothes for your kids.
Label, label, label
If you aren’t already labelling your kids’ lunch bag, water bottle, gym clothes, and backpack, you are a braver woman than I.
Grab a set of fun labels from a brand like Mabel’s Labels and never worry again about whether your kid will come home with their lunch bag, or little Suzzie’s.
Stockpile school supplies
It’s great that we live in a world where Amazon can deliver a package on the same day and stores stay open sometimes 24/7. It does make a busy mom’s life easier. But there are those days when Prime delivery just won’t cut it, and your local store is closed just when you need them to be open.
Instead of scrambling to figure out where you’re going to get that piece of foam for your kid’s diorama of the solar system, why not avoid late-night freak-outs by having your very own “supply pantry”? Stock it full of all the things your kids use most often—pens, markers, glue, paper—and then throw in a few more niche items—poster board, craft supplies, index cards.
Create a command centre
When your kids come home from school, where do their backpacks go? Where do they leave their coats? Do their permission forms and homework even make it out of their bags?
By setting up a few hooks, a small basket, and a space for each child’s things, you can make sure that the house is tidy every night and that mornings are a cinch. If each kid knows where their things are, can you imagine how smooth getting out the door in the morning would be? We love this command centre from How to Decorate.
Invest in a good calendar or planner
This is a great one for the older kids to participate in as well. Pick up a few planners or calendars that will let your kids have a weekly view of their workloads. Add in homework, chores, and extracurricular activities so your kids (and you) have a good idea of what needs to get done and when.
Share the daily routine
Along the lines of your day planners and calendars, it’s helpful for little ones if you post the daily schedule. Grab a whiteboard per kid and write down everything that they have happening during that day—include school, extracurricular activities, special events, and anything else they should be aware of for that day. You can even do a weekly schedule to save yourself the work of changing it every day. Check out this great example from a thousand words.
Keep the car organized
If you drive your kids to and from school pick up, keeping your car in some semblance of organization is important. Why not use a backseat organizer to keep some key items on hand. From tissues and water to a quick grab-and-go breakfast option, having these items literally at their fingertips will make the school drop-off line a breeze.
Create a grab-and-go lunch box
While meal prep is a great way to keep you on top of the cooking, you still have to worry about packing lunches every morning. Get the kids involved and make it easy for them by creating a section in your fridge and/or pantry that houses all the lunch options, pre-packed and ready to be thrown into a lunch bag. Task your kids with packing their lunches each morning and take one more thing off your plate. This fridge organization from Happy Money Saver is enviable.