Revamp Your Back-to-School Routine

      Do you dread the start of school because of the stressful mornings you face? We got some help from professional organizer Julie Starr Hook, author of From Frazzled to Freedom. Her advice can help you make mornings easier on the entire family:

      1. Parents need to be dressed and ready before the kids wake up. The more time the parent has before the child gets up the less stressful it is. By focusing on themselves first they will be able to better give the child attention when they need it.
      2. Organize lunches the night before. Packing or deciding if the child will be having hot or cold lunch is critical. If they take hot lunch, make sure that money is in their account.
      3. Plan clothes If your child decides what the will be wearing the night before, it's a time saver.
      4. Showers/baths If at all possible, have your child bathe at night.
      5. Limit electronics/TV These things can be a distraction to the kids and they may end up spending time doing theses things instead of getting ready.
      6. Keep the same routines Kids generally do well with routines. The more consist you can be by keeping the kids moving along in the morning; getting them up at the same time and leaving the same time each day the better. They will eventually know what to expect and there will be fewer conflicts.

      She also helped solve a few other common morning dilemmas:

      • Where's my backpack?

      Set down the backpack the same place each day. A child in Preschool/grade School can place their backpacks on a hook. Make sure they are placed no higher than eye-level. Generally, kids this age have lighter backpacks. The hook/s can be placed near the first area of the home the child enters. Hooks are also a great place for coats. For example, if it's in the laundry room, place hooks there. For middle and high school age hooks can be more of a challenge because most backpacks are quite heavy. I like to place backpacks in the place closest to where the child where the child studies.

      • Where are my shoes?

      Take off your shoes at the same place each day. Each household varies in the places for shoe storage. Some people take their shoes off where ever they enter the house some people take them off in their bedrooms while other people take them off in the family room. Have a shoe organizer closest to where the family members take off their shoes. It's ideal if everyone can decide on one spot to place shoes. In order to keep the area less cluttered, store only the shoes in season in the shoe organizer and the ones not in season in another area.

      • Where do I put my kids paperwork?

      Get into the habit of having your child empty their backpacks or ask the child if they have any paperwork for you the first thing they do when they enter the door after school. You can either have them set the paperwork in a certain place or hand it to you right away. Because my kids are older, I have them set their paperwork on my desk immediately. If something needs a quick signature, I give it back to them right away. The quicker you can get the paperwork off your desk, the better. Don't let it build up until the end of the week. If something needs to be read, try to read it within a day or two. If a piece of paperwork has dates, I immediately transfer those dates to my calendar. If you have younger children you will likely see lot of art projects and worksheets. Decide what art projects you want to keep. Hang up your child's favorite piece on a refrigerator and change it weekly. Consider keep a few for a grandparent or a special person. Keep only a "select" few and store them in a memory box. A memory box is a place where people store items that are special. Artwork varies in sizes. There are portfolios that can be purchased at an arts and crafts store or clear plastic bins that come in a variety of sizes. My book, "From Frazzled to Freedom," has lots of ideas on the best way to handle all different types of paperwork.

      • Book Signing
      • Saturday, August 25, Noon - 4:00pm
      • Rainbow West Book Store, Lancaster Mall, Salem

      For more information, visit Julie's website.