Families know how challenging it can be to keep a family organized, especially if you have children who regularly participate in extra-curricular activities. Here are 5 great tips on how to establish and maintain organization for the whole family:
Keep important dates and information handy. Purchase a large whiteboard calendar or chalkboard and place it in the heart of your home, such as the kitchen. Use this to ensure important dates are documented so the family remembers when the next parent-teacher meeting is or what time soccer practice is this week. You can also add corkboards or wall trays to store important papers that may need to be signed or that you don’t want to misplace. If you children are old enough, this is also a perfect area to display your child’s chores so they don’t forget what they are responsible for the week.
Have a designated work space for activities that require concentration and focus such as homework, projects and crafts. Pick a room or a part of a room that your child can keep all his or her supplies for these activities ready. Use bins to keep the supplies neat and organized. Be sure you have enough room and, if possible, try to keep the books and papers that your child may need for school in this room as well. When you buy school supplies at the beginning of the year, color code each subject – Math is blue, English is green, etc., and use the same color for to label books, folders and other materials that relate to each subject with the corresponding color throughout the year. This will make it easy for your child to quickly grab what they’re looking for without having to search through every folder or notebook.
Prepare the night before. Families know how hectic the mornings can get. Minimize forgetting things at home by ensuring the family gets ready for the next day the night before. This would include making sure your children have everything they need for school in their backpack, lunches and snacks are packed and they have what they would need for any afterschool activities. Make it part of your child’s bedtime routine to pick out their outfit for the next day. Have a designated place for their shoes, jackets, and backpacks to be so time isn’t wasted in the morning looking for where they last left these items.
Create a home for everything. Just like the designated work space that you may have created for activities, make sure the family knows where things belong. In your children’s rooms or playroom, create organized areas for them with bins or cubbies to ensure toys are put back where they belong. On the outside of the bins or cubbies, place photos of the types of items that belong there to help younger children remember where to put things.
Lead by example. Your child is much more likely to stay organized when they have a positive role model to follow. This means that you’ll have to stay organized yourself! Make to-do lists, follow a consistent daily schedule and put things back where they belong each time you’re done with them. Small things like turning off the television at the same time each evening can pay off big time for you and your child when it comes to establishing bedtime. As your children observe you following an organized routine, they will start to develop the skills and habits that will allow them to do the same.