Raise your hand if you remember the morning scramble on school days. Between missing homework and mismatched outfits, permission slips gone AWOL and the realization that no one managed to walk the dog, too many days can turn out to be, well, challenging.
Today, with increasingly busy parents juggling the demands of their own hectic schedules plus those of their children, things may be even worse. But they don’t have to be, thanks to new systems, new technology and an array of products designed to keep your child, and your family, up to speed.
It’s back-to-school time, those precious few weeks when, despite the nip in the air and the date on the calendar, everything seems new again. So before all the good intentions devolve into sodden scraps at the bottom of your child’s backpack, consider this: Just a little preplanning, a tip or two from a professional and a commitment to follow through can go a long way toward ensuring that the heady days of September and the excitement of a new school year can last well into spring.
“It’s great for kids to have a routine,” said Laura Chlopecki, a partner with Education in Focus, which has been serving Washington-area students and their families with educational and organizational support for 11 years.
“There’s safety and comfort in boundaries and in knowing where things are and how the day will go. We want to set up kids for success.”
After all, even Santa checks his list twice.
But even Santa might be challenged by the demands of the 21st century. These days, both parents often work; the school day can stretch well into the evening hours; and technology, intended to make lives easier, can make things more difficult for students struggling to keep their focus. So organization - of space, time and, of course, all those papers, is crucial.
“Where there’s kids, there’s clutter,” said Alejandra Costello, a professional organizer who grew up in suburban Maryland. “The biggest thing is developing a system and maintaining it.”
But where to start? Organizational experts like to note that no one method works for everyone.
“It’s important to know what your kids respond to,” said Ms. Costello, who uses color coding to help her visual clients remember events and track information and even help preschoolers keep track of their toys.
It’s also important that the children buy in to the scheme.
“You want to get them to engage in the system,” said Amy Knapp, a Michigan-based professional organizer who runs familyorganizer.com, which offers an array of traditional and digital products to help busy families get and keep it all together. “In the end, you want them to develop the skills and do the things that foster independence.”
One way to involve children is to let them pick out their own school supplies. A family trip to the local Staples, for example, can yield a ready-for-school haul that includes glitter binders, fashion notebooks and flash drives that look like animals.
“We think things should be fun and functional,” said Karen Pevenstein, a Staples spokeswoman. “Organization is all about the individual, so we give individuals the opportunity to mix and match colors and patterns to personalize things and show off their individuality.”
Over at the Container Store, a hot item right now is locker wallpaper that students can decorate or cover with doodles at will. Meanwhile, colorful bins, baskets, drawers and planners mean staying organized can be a fashion statement as well.View Entire Story
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