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Nancy Collins

Professional Organizer

Back to School–or Is it?
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Don't be afraid. Nancy can help create more calm and less chaos.

This year School is a Whole New Ballgame....

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Well, here we are, and it’s Back to School---kinda. This year has brought a whole new wrinkle to the meaning, hasn’t it? All of a sudden instead of new lunchboxes, new notebooks, school shopping lists from Target, here you are…School is now on a tablet or laptop, at the dining room table, in the bedroom, on the couch, or wherever. And if YOU are working at home too, you’ve got your office at home all of a sudden, and it can downgrade to chaos in a very short time. As a homeschool mom in my previous life, I so remember what it was like—exciting and terrifying at the same time. Here’s a few tips to keep everyone a little more organized and on track:

Easy as 1-2-3: Clutter Control for Kids

Managing the mess that kids make can be overwhelming sometimes. But by adding some simple routines and expectations, your household will function like clockwork!

Make organizing a part of each day. Let kids know that they need to be responsible for their own possessions. Teach children how to pick up after themselves. It’s important to show kids that every item they own has a “home” where it needs to return when they’re done using it. Be consistent.

Establish simple routines that are age-specific. Younger children will need more direction and simpler expectations than pre-teens and teenagers. For example, saying “Clean up your room” is overwhelming to a kindergartner. Instead, try “Please put the Legos in the shoebox and your books on the bookshelf.” BE SPECIFIC .Some tasks that children under five can do:

• put dirty laundry in the hamper 

• clean up toys (with assistance) at the end of the day

· Hint: lay out their clothes for the next day even if you are schooling at home—saves on dawdling in the morning.

Kids over five should also be able to:

• make their beds every day

• clean up toys throughout the day

• select their clothing for the next day

• keep track of their own schoolwork each day (this is imperative if you have more than one kid doing school at home) with their own bin, bookbag, shelf for the books, etc.

As they grow, add more responsibilities. You are giving them skills and confidence to tackle more challenging projects in the coming years. And, most important, praise your children frequently for their efforts.

Don't forget that children of all ages need routines and schedules, as well as downtime. 

• Set out the breakfast dishes each evening so you have a few extra minutes to languish over breakfast treats and conversation with your family in the morning. Right after breakfast get their school “area” set up for JUST THEM, with their own supplies and books/computer.

• Throughout the year, maintain routines for bedtime, mealtime, chores, etc. Allow some flexibility to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

• Slow down and unplug to enjoy and appreciate life. Turn off the TV and computer and head outside to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Set aside some special time — a weekend morning is great — to cuddle on the couch and talk about the week’s events. Remember, school doesn’t need to take 8 hours—if they get the work done early, good for them (unless it’s dedicated online class time where they have to listen in to a teacher). LOTS OF BREAKS.

You got this.

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