To be honest, there’s not a lot of difference: two out of the three most important things for parents match those for kids: places for the temporary stuff, places for the long-term stuff and a command center of sorts.
For the temporary stuff: A drop spot. Decide early where you want your kids to put those papers you need to look at and/or sign, and you’ll have the whole school year to help them develop the habit of making that the home for those papers. The designated drop spot doesn’t need to be fancy, or even a container. It simply needs to be a logical match for your styles (I need to see it parents shouldn’t choose a drawer, for example) and accessible to your kids. Don’t forget to make it clear to your kids where the papers will go after you finish with them. Will your kids need to reclaim them from the designated drop spot? Will you hand them directly back to the child in question? Who makes sure they get into the backpack? Your styles and your child’s styles, age and level of accountability should guide your plan.
For the long-term stuff: A reference spot, a.k.a. the place to store all that stuff that comes home (but you can’t get rid of). While a countertop can work for the short-term stuff, you’ll want a style-appropriate container for the things you’ll want to hang onto for reference–school calendars, lunch menus, field trip information, etc. Any container that works for you — a binder, an accordion folder, clipboard, a file drawer or dedicated file container–is a workable solution as the anchor. Not sure? Ask yourself what storage system will require minimal time to create and will make it easy for you to put your hands on this information as your child is running out the door asking you the question only those papers can answer.
A calendar. Planner. Wall calendar. Erasable white board calendar. What it looks like, where you put it and what you put on it (everyone’s dates, the kids’ dates or just school-specific stuff) is entirely up to you. During the first few weeks of school, you’ll spend a lot of time adding dates that will bail you out in the weeks (and months) to come. The more you write down, the less you need to keep track of.
I’ve written quite a bit about planners, so if you want more food for thought in choosing a planner that works with your styles, click on the Planners and Calendars tab at the top of my home page. Next week, I’ll talk a little more about managing the reference spot. Until then, which tool do you think will be your best choice as the anchor for that spot?
Copyright 2016 Lisa Hess