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Get an A for Getting Your Kids Organized for the New School Year


The old Chuck Berry song “School Days” starts with the line “Up in the morning and out to school.” If only it were that easy.


Every day, the kids reluctantly drag themselves out of bed (if they even manage to get up at all), trudge to the kitchen, shove some breakfast into their faces, goof off, go dress themselves in mismatched clothes, panic when they realize they can’t find their homework and cause a household scavenger hunt for it. You silently pray that another set of problems doesn’t begin as you grab your car keys.


Parents deal with the get-ready-for-school chaos nearly every day. The numerous issues they face begin near or on the first day of school and normally continue until the last day. The problems, however, mostly deal with motivating children to get up on time, be clean and dressed, organized and ready to walk out the door long before the bus comes or before one of the parents is ready to drive them. Then when they come home, motivating them to do their homework and later getting to bed early enough to get a complete, restful night’s sleep.


There are a number of things you can do to make sure your children are ready and set to go to school each day, from organizing the items they’ll need to walk out the door to determining when they should go to bed.


Make an Early, Device-Free Bedtime a Habit

According to, school-aged children (6-13) and teenagers (14-17) need anywhere from nine to 10 hours of sleep each night in order to be rested and ready to face the next day. Ideally, this should start before the first day of school. There are also a number of things parents and kids can do before and during bedtime such as setting and sticking to a regular schedule, making the children leave their smartphones outside their rooms so they won’t be up with them all night playing around on social media and keeping the bedrooms cool and comfortable. A good night’s sleep results in a well-rested child who will perform well in school all day.


Have Clothes at the Ready

Shortly before bed and after each child has bathed, spend some time to select the clothes for the next day. This prevents the older ones from trying on several different outfits, and the younger ones from wearing last year’s Halloween costume and a pair of snow boots. It also prevents you from having to say “You’re not wearing that” when your oldest son comes into the kitchen wearing sweatpants that are two sizes two big and a hoodie large enough to smuggle throw pillows in. This also prevents tantrums with the younger ones who insist on wearing their costumes.

Get Things Organized

The night before, make sure each child’s backpack is loaded; all homework is completed, and that you have signed all necessary permission slips and other paperwork. Then set everything by the door (including jackets, coats and shoes) at the appropriate height for each child, ready to put on and grab when they leave. If possible, also make lunches the night before so all you have to do is pack them. This will make getting out the door more efficient.


Make a Homework Space

The tendency is for children to pile their work on the kitchen table. This is how things get lost or packed with the wrong child. Just like you need a space at work, children need the same thing when they do theirs, and that means a space of their own and a desk with school supplies just for them.


Every school day doesn’t need to be chaotic, but getting things ready early enough, plus getting a restful night’s sleep, can make it more efficient.


Article Provided by: Janice Russell

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