Back-to-school organizing

Rachel Ray’s website has nine great back-to-school organizing tips to help get your little ones ready for the new year in the article “Back To School Planning” by Katie Hetter. My favorite is the fourth tip:

Organize your routine with fun daily checklists. Amanda Wiss uses checklists to teach her 3-year-old how to get ready for pre-school. For the morning, she includes: brush teeth, take vitamin, eat breakfast, get dressed, put on shoes. “Charlotte is exceedingly proud of herself for doing all the things on ‘her list,'” she says. Older kids can have more advanced checklists that include completing homework, practicing a musical instrument, setting the table, putting out an outfit for the next day–anything you’d like your child to consistently complete. Update lists to incorporate new activities and goals.

Check out the other eight great tips for even more ideas.

12 Comments for “Back-to-school organizing”

  1. posted by Courtney on

    I’m planning on making a visual/pictograph list for my toddler. ;)

  2. posted by Debi on

    I laminated my daughter’s checklist so she could use a dry erase marker or wax pencil to check off each item every morning.

  3. posted by Jay on

    Most people follow routines, with or without a written checklist. I suspect that for most kids a checklist that includes such items as getting dressed and putting on shoes would be clutter.

  4. posted by Back To School Planning | Productivity Hacks on

    […] school planning tips from: Rachael Ray’s Official Website :: Back To School Planning. (via unclutterer) SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Back to School Planning", url: […]

  5. posted by Roger on

    We do the same thing, setting up printable checklists in Excel and then putting them on a clipboard for our daughter. They’ve been invaluable in helping her establish routines and be ready for school or bed on time.

  6. posted by Pat on

    As a teacher, I’m delighted with this article. As I greet my students each morning, I can tell which kids have just experienced a calm family routine, and which have been rushed and/or angry. The calm students are ready to learn something new.

  7. posted by Amanda Wiss on

    Thanks so much for sharing this article!

    I agree that visual “lists” are best for toddlers, and love the laminating idea.

    Similar to the printable checklists in Excel, I have clients who print their child’s list and use sheet protectors with a dry erase marker and a clipboard so each day is a fresh start. This allows for the checklist to morph easily as things evolve and habits become routinized.

    My daughter, whose checklist was highlighted in the article, is going through a stage where she wants people to do things FOR her (bizarre, since most toddlers want the opposite!) We reward her simple behavior – putting on her own shoes and dressing herself without help – with stickers on her checklist. Bonus sticker if the shoes go on the proper feet! :) It works well for our family.

    So enjoy hearing what works for other folks.

  8. posted by Robin Mohr on

    I’m just hoping that brushing teeth comes after eating breakfast.

    We still use checklists, although they have evolved over the years. My eleven-year-old doesn’t need to be reminded to put his shoes on the right feet, but he does need to take a shower on a regular schedule. Mostly now we use them for chores, listing both the everyday (empty your lunch box after school) and the monthly rotation of who is responsible for emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the bathroom, dusting the living room, etc. It’s been working pretty well for seven years now.

  9. posted by Jirka on

    [Robin Mohr]
    “I’m just hoping that brushing teeth comes after eating breakfast.”

    Why? Isn’t it more of a personal preference like peeling bananas from the top/from the bottom? I have been brushing my teeth before breakfast all my life and do not see anything wrong with it.

  10. posted by Soochi on

    Hey, I use checklists for myself, and I’m an adult. Just makes life easier. Good article.

  11. posted by gail gray of a fresh start professional organizing on

    [Jay]
    What we all have to remember is that these are tips and they are used as suggestions to help improve your life. If it doesn’t work for you, it may help you to think of a way that does.

    I am quoted in the article as well (toward the end) and I offer my tips as suggestions to all my clients. I never would say these are the only solution to their organizing dilemmas.

    Erin, thank you for sharing the article. Any day is a good day when started off unrushed and stress free. Personally, lists saved my child from endless repeating from me of what to do. He can look to see and there is no excuse. (Now at the age of 11 he still needs to be reminded to brush his teeth. There are some that just need a reminder list :)).

  12. posted by Tracy on

    My 4 yr old dd made her own checklist. She drew a pic of each task she does in the morning. Since she has ownership of the list, all I have to say is, “did you do your checklist?”

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