Back to School Organization: Tips to Minimize Chaos
Kids thrive on routines. And as much as we may not want to admit it, so do adults. This is particularly true for children and adults with ADHD. Many of the benefits of strong time management and organization in general are built on a foundation of routine. Training your brain, your body, and your habits to more automatically do the things you need them to do for you.
Routines Improve Time Management and Back to School Organization
Spend time thinking of the times when your family is most impacted by lack of time management or organization the most. For many of us, the time between dinner and bed can be the most challenging. We’re tired; the kids may be wound up. We’re already stressing about tomorrow; the kids need our time and attention. To make evenings easier, create routines that work for your family.
Set up a routine during the week where the kids come home from school, grab a snack, and do their homework. If they don’t have any homework, then physical activity or reading time for 30 minutes is always a good way to spend some time.
Have a family meal
As often as possible, have a meal at the table for dinner that includes the whole family. Enlist the help of your children with prep, cleanup, and even cooking. Spend mealtime talking to your kids about the day at school (this is a stress-free time where some kids with ADHD or Aspergers will often remember they have papers for you to sign, or projects they need you to know about).
After-dinner clean up and prep
After dinner, everyone can pitch in to clearing the table, doing the dishes, sweeping the floor. If you pack the kids cold lunches, packing as much as you can the night before really helps. Since you’re in the kitchen anyway, pack each lunch, at least as much as possible. After the meal is also a good time to have the kids finish up any leftover homework, think about what they want to wear for school the next day, and pack up their backpacks so they are ready to go.
Schedules Keep the Family On-Task
Whether you put a chalkboard on the dining room wall, use a calendar, or write it on a white board on the fridge, creating a schedule each week can help keep the whole famly on task. Be sure to include the lessons, sports practices, and after-school activities each child has going on, any meetings or work-related appointments that will happen, and any special events slated for the week. Along with a calendar, a rotating chore chart can be used to help keep even the youngest children responsible and taking care of meeting some of their own organizational and prepping needs. Younger children will respond well to a picture chart while older children may prefer a checklist.
Creating strong routines, schedules, and responsibility lists that take into account the reality of your time and the needs of the family can transform hectic school evenings into peaceful moments of relaxation.
What could a new routine do for your family?