This year I will have a 1st grader and I feel way more prepared for what the school year will hold than I did as a first time elementary school parent of a kindergartener. The previous school year was a learning curve, with adapting to a new routine and different expectations. I underestimated my organization skills and time management with juggling the extra-curricular activities of our household.
I wanted to share what I found worked towards the end of last year and what I plan to implement this year for a ‘fingers crossed’ smooth start and strong finish to the another school year!
3 Tips for Surviving and Thriving this School Year
- Closet Cubby: An organizational hanging cubby with five compartments has been a laundry game changer. Putting away clothes, to get them back out was proving to be a big waste of time. Now as I am sorting laundry, I plan five outfits and place them in their own cubby (this includes undies, bottoms, a top and pair of socks). Instead of laying out clothes the night before or hunting down the matching socks in the morning, my kiddo gains the power of choice and can simply pick from any cubby and get dressed without the ‘what am I wearing’ fight.
- Bento Boxes: My daughter typically prefers cold lunch. Last year I had one bento-style lunch box and if it wasn’t forgotten in a back seat of the car, it was left somewhere between school and after school care. My master plan this year is to add 4 more bento lunch boxes with the compartments and cold snap on lids. The idea is, I will meal prep lunches on Sundays with all the variety and fun of a packed school lunch, so hopefully I am not remembering I forgot to pack lunch at 10:30pm, or the fear of discovering the unwashed Tupperware that has finally resurfaced. In theory, it should be very ‘grab and go’ style with the understanding they will still be forgotten and hot lunch is always our back up last minute option.
- Homework Stigma: Homework and reading assignments threw us for a loop. We started off strong and fell off the wagon. I realized that homework doesn’t need to happen in the traditional sense we all remember, (at home – in the dining room after dinner). What worked for my daughter was that assignments were best done on the go. If we were at an activity waiting for it to begin, she really thrived on completing homework before hand. Something about the race against the clock, and voila, homework is done for the night! She also enjoyed reading assignments on the quiet car ride to school in the mornings. Sometimes she was even able to get through each book twice, which was better than when we tried at home with the distractions of the hustle and bustle of others in the household and struggling to get through the first few pages before frustration set in and giving up.
Whether you are a first time elementary school parent wondering how you will adapt to all the new, or you are a seasoned vet in the trenches – sometimes unconventional ways are the best way to get the job done! And I hope these tips spark some creative ways to problem solve your own school year trials.