Back To School: Helping Your Kids Succeed

There's no avoiding it now. Kids are going back to school, some as early as this week!

In his adult life, Albert Einstein wore white shirts and black ties every day, because he didn't want to clutter his mind with decisions that had nothing to do with his work. By wearing the same thing every day, his mind was free to explore and imagine and learn.

It's no different for your kids. Success in school requires more than brain power. A well-structured home life and a dedicated, well-organized work space will help a child immeasurably. When a child knows when and where to do their schoolwork every day, their minds can stay focused on what needs to be done.

Here are some ideas to help your kids reach their potential.

Setting Up a Homework Space: Keep homework and study places simple. All kids need is a place to sit, paper and pens and pencils. You should use a separate space for kids to access supplies outside of the homework area to remove distractions. Another great tip is to designate the homework space in a central area of the home, like the kitchen, so that kids can do their homework while parents cook. That way, parents are there to answer any questions and also make sure that their kids are actually working. Designating a hall closet or craft area for supplies is a great way to keep things accessible for projects.

Storing School Papers and Projects: Artwork can be hung around the home and also stored in plastic containers with locking lids. The trick is to not keep everything. Have your kids pick their favorite pieces to keep and create a filing system. You can also designate a frame for artwork or school photos so that you can continue swapping new items in year after year and pass the collection to your children when they are older.

Keeping Kids on Schedule: For the tech-oriented family, shared Google Calendars or Outlook calendars are great ways to keep track of what every family member has going on a given day or week. Alternatively, you can keep track of activities with a paper calendar or dry-erase board. These types of physical calendars should be kept in a central area where everyone can see them.

Keeping Your Child’s Backpack Organized: The best practice is to clear out the backpack on Friday afternoons. This helps avoid a build-up of old papers and stale lunches. Another handy tip is to avoid extra large backpacks with lots of compartments that make it easy to store unnecessary things. Once the backpack is cleared out, return it to the cubby hole or hook area to be found easily first thing Monday morning.

Save Time Bustling Kids Out the Door: Designate a space where everyone puts all their school essentials. Lockers, cubbies, mudrooms, the garage, and other high traffic exit areas are ideal for this. It’s the place where everyone knows their shoes, backpacks, jackets and finished homework can be found.

Create a Kids Clothing System: Set up a system that encourages kids to dress themselves, which can happen as early as age two. Avoid drawers that hide clothing and segment the closet by higher and lower tiers, depending on frequency of use.

Start the Fall Off Right: Sort through all the items in the coat closet and make sure that they are all season-specific. As the season changes to winter, it is a good time to change out again. Match up all gloves and throw away any that are missing pairs. Check to ensure that all boots and clothing items fit and purge anything that is overly worn or damaged and not going to make another season.

We wish you every success in the coming school year.

Ginny Snook Scott is the Chief Design Officer at California Closets. She has over 25 years experience with California Closets and has helped over 1,000 clients create custom closets and organize their home. Connect with Ginny on Google+.