Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Back to School - Getting Organised with a Morning LaunchPad

As the holidays come to a close, my mood starts to shift.  I go into super organiser mode.  Collecting last minute school supplies, buying shoes, socks and uniforms and organising the house back to "school zone".

I pull out the personalised school things that Santa thoughtfully brought for the kids.  He is always very organised when it comes to school. The lunchbags and drink bottles are ready to go as well.

I was going to do up a Back to School checklist, but there are so many awesome ones on the web.  Check out The Organised Housewife for a great printable.  However, I thought I would share some of the things that I do to get ready for school.

  • Write the term dates on your family calendar.  Also include any school dates you already know.  
  • Organise the kids to get their haircuts before school.  I highly recommend taking your children for a checkup at the optometrist - especially preppies!  
  • Organise a separate school uniforms washing basket.  Makes life so much easier.
  • Buy plain white socks in bulk.  I am so lucky that my kids are all in the same size range for socks (9-13), so I bought 20 plain white socks and have put them in a school sock box near there launch pad {see next point}.  This saves on searching for pairs or sizes.  Just grab 2 socks and go!
  • Set up a school launch pad.  A place that holds their school bag, shoes, hat and a checklist for the morning. {see below for more information and a FREE printable!}
  • Label everything as you go.  My Dymo lable machine set me back about $30 and it has been well used for the past 9 years.  You can get iron-on labels, white, clear and coloured labels.  
  • The last week of the holidays start winding back the clock.  Get the kids back into bedtime routines and morning routines.  Putting bedtime 15 mins earlier every night is an easy way to retrain their body clocks.  Wake them up at the same time every morning (ours is 6am).
  • Designate a spot for school notes and papers.  Most schools are paper free these days, but the kids know where to put the notes that do come home.  My spot is on my desk.  They know to put it on top of my keyboard so that it gets read straight away.  

The First Week of School:

  • Head to the office and update all your details.  If you have any concerns about your child, ask to make an appointment with the Guidance Officer to discuss.
  • Find out about school banking and get the application forms back to the school ASAP.  Most school bank accounts are free and have great rewards for the kids.
  • Find out about any sporting, music or other programs that the school offers and get the enrolment forms.
  • In the 2nd week of school request a detailed class schedule from your child's teacher.  It helps the morning routine when the kids know that they have Library today or a music lesson.  Write them up on their Daily Mission Schedule {see below for FREE printable}

We make getting ready in the mornings fun and easy.  The kids have a countdown list - a "Pre Launch Checklist".  After the normal morning routine is complete and there is 15 minutes until "Take Off", we tell the Reasons to start their countdown.  They go to the list and get ready for "Blast Off".

Our Launch Pad.  
Hats, bags, school shoes.  A clock so we are never late, our Pre-Launch Checklist and their Daily Mission Schedule for each child. 
{some school bags and hats are missing as our uniform shop re-opens next week.  I have already ordered them}

Our school sock box - and a place to sit to put your shoes on.

They can refer to the Daily Mission Schedule - which includes specific things for particular days.  ie:  Tuesday Lucy has Piano, so she has to remember to take her Piano books.  Thursday Hayden has Chess Club, so he has to remember to take his Chess Set.  Friday is Violin day - so it goes on the list.  And I put whatever day their class goes to the Library, so they remember to take their Library bag.  It is a good idea to get them to check the list for the next morning before bed.  Put those items in their bag ready - which saves on spending time in the morning looking for a library book.  I laminate this blank so I can change it as the schedule changes throughout the year.

The Daily Mission Schedules are blank, ready to put things on once I get their class routine sheet from their teacher.

I hope this helps with some of your Back to School organising.  It makes the morning routine so much easier.  

And, just for you... here are your FREE printables of the Pre-Launch checklist and the Daily Mission Schedule.  

Click on the picture to make it large, and then right click to save to your computer.  Print and laminate them and sit down with your Reasons to explain how they work.

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  1. LOVE the idea of the 'launch pad!!!' Will definately be combining something like this for my 2 boys!

  2. What a fantastic system you have set up here. I am planning on fixing and organising my front door area soon too.

  3. The idea of the socks next to the shoes, why didn't I think of this, Brilliant

  4. Thanks Danielle! I have a similar system with my little ones even with the printables.... but I love the idea of saying "start the countdown" and putting the responsibility of the tasks back on the children as opposed to asking them to do each step..... so I am going to "borrow" your system this year!
    I will have TWO at school this year and one going to preschool for two days a week..... so that will mean I will have two days a week with just two little ones at home! Makes me sad to think that they are growing up so fast!!

    Good luck with back to school..... we have a little over 3 weeks left of holidays to soak up yet **phew**

  5. Some great ideas Danielle. My eldest (of 3) starts school this year. I will put some of your tips into action! Thanks.

  6. I love it. we have a similar set up in our garage. as we walk out the office to the garage where our car is.
    kids have two hooks each and there are two for the adults.
    We also have an ikea set up just behind the door inside too for shoes. I'd love a 'launch pad' inside with a clock etc, but unfortunately we don't have the space. nice to see different ideas though.

  7. I have been wanting to make a 'launch pad' for awhile now, but because we are in a rental, we arent allowed any permanent fixtures.

    I can do the shoe boxes and the sock box is such a GREAT idea, but Im stumped on the hooks for bags mainly. Hats are ok because I can get non permanent hooks. But not ones strong enough for heavy bags...hmmm..

  8. As long as you have a spot to put the bag... it doesn't have to be hanging. It could be on the floor next to the shoe box. It could be a space in the wardrobe in their room (and then shoe/sock box at the front door, or garage door). It could be a spot in the laundry. Whatever place it is... just stick the checklist on the wall and that becomes their launch pad. If they have to go to a couple of different spots during the "countdown" it doesn't matter.

  9. Such great tips love the shoe and sock box! My eldest starts school in a few weeks, I was just wondering where you got those library bags from?

  10. Michelle. I purchased them from an Etsy store. I just placed the link on my Facebook page. :)

  11. We are just starting preschool this year in this house. I have been thinking about the best want to tackle everything as we will have another one at school next year and it is easier to just start a proper routine now, so thank you so much for sharing.

  12. I have seen the launch pad idea in a few places but i love the ideas you have here to add to mine. I have two starting kindy.

  13. Awesome system! Wish i had the room. Want to try make us something similar to make mornings less of a mad rush :)

  14. Thanks Danielle. Arrived here via The Organised Housewife. I only have 2 but these checklists are wonderful. Thanks for your hard work.

  15. Hi Danielle,

    I love how you handle the socks and washing the uniforms! Hope you don't mind, I've shared this post on the Beautifully Organised blog xx

  16. I am in love with this idea and your organisation! Especially the sock bin and the tubs under their bags. I've been inspired, now I just need to actually make it happen at my house :) Judi

  17. I only have 2 boys (2 and 7) and morning has become so stressful. I am so glad I found you. I am getting out of bed to create my launch pad right now. Day 2 of school, but we will erase today and start fresh and organized tomorrow morning. Homework is our next project. Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions!

  18. WOW - that is the cutest little set up ever !! im impressed such an organised & peacefull area! :)

  19. This is awesome! I'm saved your printables and favourited the link to implement something similar in my classroom when I graduate next year. I think it's really important to teach kids responsibility from a young age and launch pads are fantastic teaching tools plus help corral all that kid stuff. I have a little launchpad myself by my desk and I still pack my bag the night before just like I did in school.

    PS - those tote bags for each of your kids are adorable!

  20. Stumbled over this site and found it really helpful. Danielle, you are one very organised mom and your kids are lucky to have you! I love the idea of the launchpad, should really consider having one at home. Thanks for the printables too!

  21. Love your organisation! Thanks for the tips.


I am a Mama of Five. A wife to one. I believe in documenting life using stories. I love telling you mine and would love to hear yours.

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