Organizing for Back to School

By LISA PHILLIPS/Guest Columnist

Everywhere you look, “Back to School” is prominent in office supply, grocery and clothing stores and even the yogurt shops.

Here are five tips to help with the transition from relaxed schedules to alarm clocks, homework and routine:

  • Establish routines.

It is proven that children thrive with expected routines and schedules. Clearly communicate your expectations for bedtime, homework, television and computer surfing at the beginning of the school year.

  • Command Central. Establish one place where your children put papers for you to review, sign and return. Set up three folders: Immediate, action and reference. Immediate is anything that needs attention right away, action may be the paperwork for the parent-teacher conference at the end of the month, and reference may be the school handbook or bus schedule. Consider setting up a file for each child for artwork, certificates or outstanding papers.
  • Prepare the night before. Get in the habit of establishing a nighttime routine that includes packing backpacks, laying out clothes, finding shoes, completing homework or other tasks. This simple routine will greatly reduce the morning chaos.
  • Establish a place for homework. Set up a workspace that is cheerful and well lit. Consider using a bulletin board or white board to post a calendar with homework assignments, after-school events and sports activities. The older the child is, the more input they will want in their study environment. Some children need a quiet place to study; some prefer a parent’s interaction in the kitchen.
  • Watch the extras. A balance of school, sports, social activities and down time is important for academic success and stress levels. A parent’s daily pace is totally different from a child’s. Balance does not mean equal, it means harmony for what a child can handle.

By giving clarity to expectations and ensuring communication, going back to school can be an exciting time.

Lisa Phillips, owner of SimpleWorks, can be reached at, or at 205-981-7733.