*Use junk mail envelopes for lunch money/other items sent to school and label it with detail so the teacher’s know exactly how it is intended to be used (If you are like us, there is definitely enough of them sent in the mail!)
*Collect in a large garbage bag for each child, papers for year... recycle at the end of the year. Pros to this is that you can go back to pull out something if necessary as well as your child seeing a physical view of progress/ learning for the year.
We placed ours in the back room of our basement this year. My daughter takes them down each night after viewing and sorting out the homework. It is a good responsibility for her.
*Instead of the... “How was school? ... Fine.” response ... Use... “Tell me one thing that you remember that happened today at school.” Often times you at least get enough from this to ask more questions and get more dialogue. Supper is a good time for this conversation when the TV is off. It helps the child’s growth in their memory by remembering items from differing environments and over time.
*Routine, routine, routine... Most of you know this and probably do adhere to a routine of some sort, but here are a few things that parents have shared about their routines that make a difference on quality vs. quantity of time to do it!
Upon entering house... book bag in one spot, open up, sort papers and homework (praising child and discussing items usually takes less time when book bag gets opened right away). Depending on your child’s needs... child takes a half hour break OR directly onto homework and items get placed back in book bag in regular, special spot waiting for another day.
Another parent has shared that she has paper trays for each of her children to place homework in upon entering home and sorting. She raved to me about the ease in having a special spot for items and how it helped their family in organizing their multiple children’s homework. That is one organized household and great for those items like flash cards that may or may not go back to school each day, but are used regularly!
Add the rhythm of a song, chant, or rhyme to the routine to help move it along... Be-bopping along is always more fun than a list of directions... saying/ singing once and repeating together the 2nd time crystallizes for children too. Pick familiar melodies to get you started like ... “I’m a Little Teapot” or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and change the words to list what needs to be done. It helps children grow in their multi- step directions and MAY actually get the dirty laundry into the bin on the 1st try instead of so much reminding! :)