School With 4

This week starts a new chapter. All of our four children are out of the home for school or childcare. 4 backpacks, 3 lunches, 4 new haircuts, 4 baths and 1 new homework room!

We have always had childcare in the home but now our LUCY- BELL is in a childcare centre. We have been getting ready for school since the 1st back to school commercial August 1st. We have talked about strategies to encourage learning and enthusiasm to keep the learning train going.

Our children like school, but with 4 school age kids, who is kidding who?- it can get hectic. We need a team and strategies. Here are my tips to tackling back to school routine. I hope you find them helpful.

Be organized– Buy backpacks and school supplies with pockets and pouches. This helps children put items in the pouches they belong. My kids like the little sections to find treasures in.

Be prepared-  Find out the school list and needs and start shopping august 1st. Have each child help gather the items and place them in their bag, so they know what is in there and where everything goes.

Shop early– With having 4 children we made a list of each child’s needs and 5 weeks before school I started shopping with one child a week back tracking. I made each child feel special and spent shopping time just with that one. This goes with the next hint.

Don’t shop late.- Do NO shopping the week leading up to back to school and Labour Day. DO NOT even leave the house for school shopping supplies. This should already be completed. The stores are crazy and the supplies limited. Everything has been picked over.

desksHomework room– Take the school homework out of the social areas of the house. That means out of the bedroom and kitchen/dining room. Our dining room last year became the catchall drop all place. This was not a good strategy. Sure I could see everyone, but because the kitchen was close- distraction was high. We created a homework room station. This reminds me of a residence study hall from my McMaster days. Each child has a special area (the two young ones share a desk to make them feel equally important).

calendar Wipe boards– I LOVE THEM. They are around the house, in the kitchen and homework room. On them I write little notes of encouragement for the kids. They write back if they want.

Daily menu planning– 5 days a week I sketch out what the week is going to look like menu wise. Writing it out helps involve the children. They can read and get excited, knowing that we plan and WE know what is for dinner. They like knowing they will be fed . If there is a special night we circle it!! The menu is a “living” document and can and does change if our needs change or have to shuffle around.

Buy a large MOM calendar. These are the kind with the large daily sections and stickers for activities, dental appointments, extracurricular, special days etc. Post it up so everyone knows who is where and when.

Easy placement– Kids need to be encouraged to find their own plates, cutlery, glasses (and ensure they are at their level and all plastic is key!) They then discard these in the sink after they are done. Our kids have specific plates and cups they like but the saying at our house is “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”.

rackWire folder hangers- These are a must. They can be bought at staples. Most school age children have a lot of communication come home in mailbags. These get unloaded first as they come in, I go through them, address what needs to be addressed, and replace the mail bag in the child’s slot above the coats. This way they do not get lost or misplaced. It is an easy grab and go to put in the backpack the next day.

I hope these were helpful.

I know looking back at one time when I no longer have “first day of school” with our kids I will remember the chaos fondly. That won’t be for some time, but will come.

…and they are off (Lucy left early).


Stay healthy and smile,

Dr. Laura

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