It's no secret that routine goes out the window over summer holidays. It's kind of nice to not be held to the constraints of school or activity schedules…but it can be equally comforting to have a routine and know what your day or week will bring.
These DIY ideas will help ease the transition back into structured routine, save you time, and create ways for the entire family to be involved. Many of these DIY projects can be done with kids, which is a great way to create buy-in for new habits!
Cardboard homework caddy
Empty cereal, granola bar, or pasta boxes work great for this DIY project. There are many examples and inspirational images online for these organizers. Make this caddy with your kids, getting them to decorate it themselves. This is an easy way to spruce up a desk space and keep homework supplies in one place. There are several colourful duct tape options that are perfect for this kind of project. Layer up different colours to create stripes!
School season is often hectic, meaning those little tasks quickly become a mountain of chores – stay ahead of the game with a DIY chores chart.
These charts provide a visual reminder of who is responsible for which chore, and whether it has been done. It also offloads the list of things to do from your mind and gives kids a chance to take some ownership for tasks. Charts can be simple – use a magnetic baking sheet and magnets to track tasks and completion or get more complex and build in reward systems.
Designate a spot for backpacks
This one will help everyone. Having a designated storage spot for backpacks means you're not tripping over them where they were randomly deposited and provides a quick answer to "where is my….?". Shelving with baskets or large nooks are a great solution for small spaces. Consider stackable bins if shelving isn't an option. Keeping backpacks and related contents in a specified location will save you from the morning scavenger hunt for lost items.
Organize weekly wardrobes
This is a great idea for adults too! Save everyone time (and energy) on weekday mornings by spending a bit of time Sunday night selecting outfits for Monday to Friday. Label the outfits using one of the many free printable tag options available online. This can turn into a fun weekly task for the entire family, signalling the start of a new week and getting back to weekly routines. Who knows – it might even inspire a family fashion show!
Create a "school closet"
Building on the idea of a designated spot for backpacks, having a "school closet" will keep school-related items from taking over the rest of your space. If you can spare a small closet, transform it into a space for school shoes, items related to school and after-school activities and extra school supplies. This way, everyone knows where to find all items related to school. If you don't have a full closet, consider designated a cupboard or shelf.
File school papers away
This affordable DIY is perfect if you don't have a home filing cabinet or office – and can be used to keep track of other important papers. Grab a dish drying rack, file folders and labels at a Dollar Store and create an easy filing system. Use different colour folders for different family members or different types of papers and store close to the door (or in the school closet!).
Prep lunches in advance in clear bins
Mornings can be hectic, and it can be tempting to send your child with money for lunch or with less than ideal food as you make a mad grab for anything close.
On Sunday, along with getting outfits sorted, prep lunches. Dry items, such as granola bars and juice boxes, can be stored in a clear bin located in the pantry, and pre-packaged, wrapped refrigerated items such as fruit, veggies, and proteins in another clear bin in the fridge. In the morning, grab a few items from each bin and BAM! – lunch is done.
Create an after-school clock
Another genius Dollar Store DIY. Grab a cheap clock, preferably one with numbers on it, and make each hour between after school and bedtime a different colour. Each colour can correspond with an activity (homework, play time, dinner time etc.). This is a great tool for teaching younger children a bit of self-reliance, and to tell time!
Create a "Command Centre" on your fridge
The kitchen is often the central hub in a home, making it the perfect place for a calendar and basic organization of frequently-used items. Place a calendar or agendas on the front of the fridge to share family schedules and appointments. Use small magnetic containers (another Dollar Store find) to organize pens, post-it notes and items you might need to communicate or leave a note.
Create a designated homework space
Keep distractions to a minimum by creating a designated homework space. It's easy to fall into the habit of doing homework in front of the TV, but this is also the easiest place for kids to lose focus.
If you have the space to set up desks for each child, great! All that's really needed to create a homework station is a seat for each child in a distraction-free space. Dining rooms and spare bedrooms can work if homework time is respected as quiet learning time by all family members. The important thing to remember is to make this space specifically for homework and crafts. No video games, eating, or social media at the homework station.
From all of us at Kelson Group, here's hoping your back-to-routine goes smoothly this fall!