Today we are talking about kids backpacks and school papers ~ how you can get through them with the best result. Kids backpacks ~ you gotta love them! Who knows what’s in there at the end of the day right? Well the challenge for a busy Mom is you need to know what’s in there because you need to stay in touch with your child’s school, teachers, and stay on top of how your child is doing in class. Here is the process that I use when it comes to going through my child’s backpack.
Choose the Proper Design
This means one that is big enough to carry all of your child’s items so they aren’t having to carry things loosely in their hands putting them at risk for losing them before they return home. I fell in love with the one I received at a Land’s End sponsored event at BlogHer because its just the right size for our daughter who is currently in elementary school.
Choose the Right Folder
Before you sit down with the weekly or daily folder your child might bring home, I get a few things within arms reach. I have my wallet because you never know what you might need to pay for, my pen because you never know what you might to sign, my GO MOM!® DIY Planner because you never know what you might need schedule or add to your Organized Week Master List, and my child’s DIY School Planner for the current school year.
Have a Process
Once I have my supplies set and I’m sitting down with the back pack at the right time, for me that is right after school, its as simple as any other paper ~ Act on it, File it, or Throw it Away! So the kids are home, doing homework, and you quickly can go through the folder and make three piles ~ Act on it, File it, Throw it Away. What kinds of items might go in each pile?
- Act On It: Anything you need to write a check for, sign for, or note on your GO MOM! DIY Planner.
- File It: Anything you might want to keep track of in your School Organizer. Think Teacher, PTA, Test Scores, and Special Activities. No you do not keep all of the worksheets. No you do not keep all of the artwork. YOu might keep one or two of anything but you definitely don’t keep it all and I promise you you won’t miss it at the end of the day.
- Throw It Away: Once you go through that process, you’ll obviously have a pile of trash. All of those worksheets and anything that isn’t extra special. If your child gets 10 out of 10 on every spelling test you don’t need to keep it unless you need to use it to ask your child’s teacher for more challenging vocabulary.
Its not anymore complicated than any other paper filing system. Act on it, File it, Throw it Away. Now some items that you Act On might need to go right back into that folder so they can go back to the teacher right away.
It’s About Responsibility
What about teaching your children to be responsible for emptying their back packs on their own and presenting you with important papers? That’s fine, you just need to be sure to give them a place to do that. You can use a simple magazine holder and include folders just like those they use at school or simply ask them to place their actual school folder in that location every day for you to go through. You can also use an in/out box to put on the wall labeled with each person’s name. I actually found that I was the fail when it came to the wall mounted in/out box.
I do much better handling paper when it comes home immediately and if not, making sure that there is just one location for all three of my children to place their papers every day. We do have a magazine holder that our teenagers use and point out to me when they’ve placed papers there for my review. Paper comes home far less frequently in middle and high school then what you are often dealing with in elementary school. The back pack conversation starts in elementary and its as much about training you as it is about training your child to take care of important papers when you receive them and to know where to put them so they can be found when needed.
These are my tips for how you can tackle kids backpacks and paperwork. Remember you can do this right when they get home or if you are all home later in the evening, just remember to schedule that time. Take the time to go through kids backpacks every single day and you’ll never be behind or have a back log of papers you’ve missed getting back to school in time. If for no other reason, going through your child’s backpack keeps you in touch with your child’s performance at school and with what is happening in your child’s school community. No matter if you are there physically or participating from home, its all about being an informed partner in education and kids backpacks is the easiest way to start that conversation. Tell me…
How do you manage your kids’ backpacks?
Looking for more? To get your organized school year on it’s way, check out our brand new Back to School Printable Bundle. I can’t tell you how helpful these checklists and forms have been for me over the years and it is full of everything you need to make this school year an organized success. Not just to be used before the first day, every form included makes my world more organized every week, all year long. And it’s the perfect compliment to our 2014-2015 GO MOM! DIY Planner , newly redesigned to focus entirely on your time and give you the best Organized Week worksheet around. And if you are looking for inspiration, check out our Back to School Pinterest Board for all kinds ideas to help you every step of the way, not only from GO MOM!® but from around the web too!
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!