Winter can make everyday kid stuff even more time consuming and unorganized. Teachers accustomed to wrangling a room full of kids have honed their classroom habits and routines, and borrowing some of their best ideas can streamline arrivals and departures while keeping clutter and dirt at bay.
1. Everyone has a designated spot for their stuff.
At school it's a cubby, here at home we do a combination of hooks and baskets. Kids take responsibility for keeping track of their stuff and pride in contributing to an organized space.
2. Keep that outerwear together.
Mittens and scarf go in hat, then hat gets stowed in coat sleeve. This is the drill in my son's midwestern kindergarten classroom, and we do the same thing at home. It keeps the place from looking like an outerwear bomb went off, minimizes lost mittens, and cuts down time wasted looking for mislaid hats.
3. Snow boots off, indoor shoes on.
At school, kids keep a spare pair of shoes in their cubby or bring them in their backpack. At home, boots off first thing and change to house shoes. No hallway slush fest, no salt and dirt tracked everywhere.
4. Wash hands upon arrival.
It's part of many classroom routines and is a great habit to maintain at home, especially at the height of cold and flu season.
5. Practice putting on snow gear at home.
This is a hard one. When we are rushing out the house it's much easier for me to quickly get my kids suited up in their snow pants, scarves, hats, mittens, coats, and boots, but what's easiest for me isn't what's best for them. It's also exhausting and impossible for teachers. One or two adults suiting up a classroom full of kids means precious outdoor play time lost. Buy cold weather wear that's easy for kids to manage, and come up with tricks to improve the process for them, like labeling left and right mittens.