How To Organize School Papers
This is one of the things I do not miss!
Most of my clients have kids in kindy or school and I often get asked how to organize school papers, that along with why schools haven’t caught up with the 21st century! I can’t answer that I’m afraid.
Set Up A System To Organize School Papers
This might seem like I’m stating the obvious but when I ask the moms I work with if they have a command centre or similar, most of the time I just get a blank look!
First of all, you need somewhere for these papers to land or be stored. A simple paper file inbox/outbox will work. You can even use a couple of cereal boxes to start with. Keep it simple.
Look around your home, where is the most logical place to put this? This will differ for everyone because we all have different types of home. Either near the door or where the kids keep their school bags.
If your child is 3 or above and is developmentally on track age-wise, they can do this. BUT you have to help them make it routine. As soon as they come home from school/kindy, get them to empty their bag and pat the paperwork in the ‘inbox’ because your child is doing it, make sure the inbox is easily reachable for them.
What I suggest you say to the kids is that you are a busy mom and need their help to stay on top of all the school papers, so you need them to put their papers in the box each day.
If you have a Google Home/Alexa or similar, set up a reminder to help you all get into the routine. Do it every day for a month and the habit will stick.
Setting A Time To Organize School Papers
The kids have done their job, now it’s over to you.
Again, this is a matter of routine. Set a time and day for each week to go through the papers, it’s a good idea to have a quick look in case there is anything urgent, you like needing 6 egg cartons, 2 empty tissue boxes and a ball of blue yarn for the next day… or something equally annoying.
Having a set time weekly to deal with all paperwork is a good idea, and although a lot of people baulk at the idea, let’s face it, it’s hardly living the high life but there is no law that says you can’t do it with a glass of wine!
Do that now, open your schedule and find a time where you can commit 15 minutes to go through your paperwork weekly. Same time, same day – this works unless you work shifts, then try and find a time where you can add it to an existing routine that fits in with your shift work.
Organize School Papers in 2 Easy Steps
You have grabbed a glass of chardonnay and the inbox, now how to deal with it all.
ONE First, sort into 2 piles, do it quickly, to “bin” and “keep”. We used to get a shed load of junk from school so what looked like an intimidating pile of chaos was often just one or two things to deal with.
TWO Now to deal with what you have left.
- Important dates, add to the schedule
- Need to buy something? Set up a reminder
- Need to send something back? Complete the task and put in the school bag
Deal with whatever needs to be dealt with right away, putting it off to later often means forgetting about it until it’s too late.
Making the effort to doing this weekly will erase that ‘mama guilt’ of always screwing up and forgetting stuff. Yes, chances are, you will still forget something sometimes, but on a whole, life will be better! Your kids are going to be happier because they won’t be embarrassed at school and you will all be less stressed because that last minute scramble for XYZ will be a thing of the past.
How To Organize School Papers Is Not Brain Surgery
Excuses, I’ve heard them all!
The moms that decide to give it a go, to make the change and put a teeny bit of effort into doing this are the ones that come back gushing with how much of a change it has made to their lives.
One real excuse I heard is from expat moms who are dealing with a language they don’t understand or understand well. I totally get that, I was in the same boat. I have two ways to help you deal with this:
First – get your partner on board, their kids too, they need to help so when you are setting a time, find some time you can do it together that is not a high-stress point of the day. Like trying to deal with it in the morning before school and everyone is rushing around to leave the house.
If your partner doesn’t have the language skills either, then you need to befriend a local or hire someone. I have a neighbour who speaks English so when my husband was working away a lot I would nip across the road and ask her to help me.
I have other friends who pay someone to come to the house once a week for an hour and help them to go through all the papers and bills to make sure they are on top of it all. If your first thought is ‘I can’t afford that’, please re-frame it, think of the time, effort and worry, that paying someone for an hour of their time would relieve you from. Totally worth the money.
And if money really is an issue, barter, what can you provide them in return?
Plus the added benefit of having someone else come to help is that it forces you to get your shiz together, keeping you accountable!