Create a “Kid Zone” this September and Be Happy.

Part of back-to-school is getting organized. Getting back into the routine of sleeping, eating, and figuring out where all this stuff is going to go, am I right? The backpacks, the extra shoes, the extra coats, the agendas, the workbooks, the lunch bags, the water bottles, and of course…those permission slips that are never where they need to be on the morning you need them.

Growing up, my Dad was always saying:

“A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

I know he wasn’t the only one. But as a kid, I found this very hard to follow. Sure, everything had a PLACE, I just didn’t know where that place was. And once I put that thing in its place, I quickly forgot which place I had put it…so “lost” was usually the place for my things. This frustrated my father endlessly.

Because somehow he could always find it. Huh.

Now that I’m a parent, oh my goodness, I get it. Let me know if you’ve had this conversation with your children:

Me: “It’s right there.”

Them: “Where?”

Me, pointing: “Right there.”

Them: “Where?”

Me, pointing and flailing: “RIGHT THERE! RIGHT WHERE I’M POINTING MY FINGER! RIGHT THERE! IN FRONT OF YOU!”

Them: Blank stare.

Me: “Oh nevermind, I’ll get it.”

Or how about this one…five minutes before leaving the house…

Me: “Where is [item that is super important to have at school?”

Them: “Ummm…I don’t know.”

Me: “Well, where did you put it?”

Them: “Ummm…I don’t know.”

Me: “If I go look in your room, am I going to find item that is super important to have at school]?”

Them: “Ummm…I don’t know.”

Me: “Found it.”

To try to avoid having these conversations EVERY SINGLE DAY, my more-organized-than-most-people husband and I came up with a solution. And it involves everything being in its place…in two easy steps.

KIDS NEED AN AREA FOR THEIR THINGS

in its place

We set up an area for each child in our basement hallway. This includes a nameplate (in case the somehow forget which station is theirs), a hook for their backpack, a hook for their coat/sweatshirt/hat, and a mat for their shoes.

Every day when they come home from school, they hang up their backpack, take off their shoes, sweatshirt, and hat and have a place to put them.

KIDS NEED DIRECTION

Once my kids have hung their backpacks up, they empty them. Lunch kits and water bottles go in the kitchen. Note totes and agendas go in a specific place in the dining room, along with library books and notes/permission slips/calendars/newsletters from the teacher.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have to remind them daily what to do and in which order. But until all of the THINGS are in the proper PLACE, they are not allowed to do anything else. They’ll get it soon, right?

That’s it. Once you have this in place, and the kids aren’t dumping their backpacks in the middle of the living room and leaving important notes in their bedroom, life is a little less stressful.

Thanks Dad, for the lesson. Sorry it took me 30 years to finally understand.

*originally published on yummymummyclub.ca