Although her daughter won’t officially start preschool for a couple of weeks, Emily Fitzgerald is already waging a war against school-related paperwork.
I’m self-employed and I’ve got two kids at home, so I’ve got a lot of balls in the air myself, says the owner of Organized Living Solutions. And there is so many papers coming in, so many special days and menus and permission slips to remember. I’m amazed.
According to Fitzgerald, the first step toward sanity is to have a quick conversation with your children about how they would like to organize their school items and then allowing them to pick out their own organizing tools.
Set the expectation that they will be responsible for helping maintain the system, she says. Set up the system now for new paperwork coming in. Tackle the backlog later.
Next, invest in some tools. Here are Fitzgerald’s suggestions:
Tools for parents
Inbox: Use a tangible inbox for kids to drop off papers, including graded papers and items to sign and return to school.
The inbox can be a basket, a wall-mounted file tray or just a file folder with the child’s name on it.
Reference binder: Use a binder for frequently used papers such as phone lists, lunch menus and calendars.
Artwork area: Fitzgerald suggests designating an area to display all of the masterpieces your child or children bring home throughout the school year. Her tip is to use magnetic paint and hang the pictures like you would on the fridge.
Keepsakes basket: Toss report cards, exams and other projects into a basket throughout the year. When school ends, go through it and pick the best of the best to showcase your child’s work for that year.
Be discriminating, Fitzgerald says. For oversized items, consider taking a picture of or scanning the actual item and having the child write a little bit about it. Then print a picture of it and put it in a binder to enjoy later.