Back To School Time!

So the time has come again… BACK TO SCHOOL! Ok did that seem too excited? lol Let’s face it though, what stay-at-home mother isn’t just a little excited when school starts back up? Of course I miss my kiddos when they aren’t here but with summer break comes chaos and broken routines, things I do not like. I don’t enjoy the early rising that comes with the new school year but I do like the routines and schedules. You could say that during summertime I kind of let my kids run wild. There are no set schedules, no set bedtimes and no major chores. However, during the school year I think everything needs to be down to a science. Honestly, I’ve never been very good at following through with it so this year I have a plan! One of the major problems we have had in the past is that there hasn’t been a “school zone” in our house. Homework is done at the kitchen table, which is fine, but other papers and artwork would flood my desk and their backpacks would be thrown wherever. So behold my new solution to back to school organization…

20150803_175219Hooks for their jackets, totes for their backpacks, shoes and/or lunch boxes. The wall also holds their velcro chore chart and their behavior chart.

20150803_173320An entryway table for everything school. There are pens and pencils, a basket for artwork, trays for school papers and scout papers, folders for keep papers, a bulletin board for the school’s menus and a dry-erase calendar to keep track of everyone’s lives. Now my kids do not go back until next week so my organization area has not been put to the test yet but I have complete faith that it will make a world of difference this year. I got the behavior chart idea from their school last year. My daughter’s teacher used a similar chart to keep track of who was behaving and who got to participate in extra things. My kids are mostly very well behaved and I am quite thankful but there are days when they push as many limits as they can because well they are kids. Sometimes I forget what I have said, especially lately with my pregnant brain happening. So if my son smarts me off and I say no Xbox tonight then later on in the night I forget, he doesn’t own up to it and gets away with playing Xbox. Of course my children are very quick to remind me when the other child has gotten in trouble for something, just not themselves. So I decided that a behavior chart was perfect for me to remember who had actually been good that day and who hadn’t. I made it myself out of poster board, stencils, scrapbooking paper and ribbon. The clips are actually hair clips used by salons when cutting hair that I just placed letter stickers on to spell out my kids names. It’s simple but cute and very affective. My almost 8-year-old daughter now strives to move her clip up by doing extra nice and good things. My 10-year-old son, on the other hand, only even notices the chart if he gets into trouble and his clip moves down.

20150803_173309Everyday both children start out on good and the clip moves up or down depending on their choices throughout the day. Some days the clips do not move at all which is still good, but my daughter doesn’t think that is good enough when it happens. lol If their clip goes to Oops, they get a warning. Watch It, they lose one privilege for the rest of the day such as tv or video games. Bad, they become grounded for the rest of the current week and go to bed early. This has really made a big difference in our house since I put it up a couple weeks ago and I highly recommend it to anyone with children!

20150803_173302Now to talk about the new chore chart! I cannot even count the number of times that I have tried to enforce a chore chart and it didn’t last. And both of my kids are famous for not finishing things they’ve been asked to do. A visual chore chart is very important to my kids because they need to SEE what they have to do. Most of the chore charts I have tried before were printable so I would have to print a weeks worth and make sure they were filled out. The other problem would be that if I ran out of ink (which I always do) then there wouldn’t be a new chart until I got ink. So this time I opted for a more permanent method. The chart is poster board with felt attached for each child. The chores are written on squares of scrapbooking paper with Velcro attached to the back. Each child has a To Do side and a Done side while the extra unused at the time chores align down the middle. Every night I simply move the chores for the next day to the To Do side of the charts. It’s simple and easy but also bright and colorful. To go with the chore chart and to help keep Mommy out of assisting with the chores, I have added an instruction paper. Chores are listed as whole rooms so they are a single word or two words on a square. So for the kids to know exactly what that chore word means they have to do they can grab the instruction pamphlet. Each chore has a page with number ordered steps as to what all that chore entails. It explains step by step what to do and even exactly where certain cleaning supplies and things are located. All the pages are attached to a ring that hangs on a hook beside the charts for easy access and portability. We have already started putting the new chore charts to work and I have to say that it is working wonderfully! They are no longer asking me a million questions about what they have to do and how I want it done. At the end of the week if they have completed all of their chores every day and kept their behavior in the green zone then they earn a quarter. No that’s not much I know but I do not believe that kids need to earn money for helping out around the house and especially for things that are theirs. They should pick up after themselves and help out the family around the house without having to be rewarded. My son’s protests is the only reason I added the allowance. So there you have it! My answers to getting my kids organized and on a good schedule for the new school year. I feel as though since this year we will have another child coming into the picture I need extra structure and extra organization. Hopefully all of this will actually work and last the whole year and of course help make things a little easier for Mom! Hope I have given you some great ideas to get ready for school this year and to get your kids organized and helping out!

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