This post written by Carmel Malone-Quane was originally published on YourTango.
Get into a good flow from the start.
As you and your kids dive full speed ahead into your back to school routine, you may not be aware that are a wealth of parenting tips to be gleaned from the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui.
If you aren't familiar with the concept, "feng shui (pronounced fung shway) is an ancient Chinese system of balancing our physical environment to promote harmony and a sense of well-being."
While learning the art of placement can help you create optimal living and working spaces within your home and business environment, it can also help you and your children create a more efficient, less chaotic system for staying on top of all aspects of their education, including homework and backpack organisation, that will go a long way in minimizing school-related stress all year round.
When you do things like let go of items you don't need and place furniture in suitable positions, the chi (life-giving energy in all things) circulates more freely around your home, making you feel better, more energized, and more at ease.
Incorporating feng shui into your child's regular routine can keep things running smooth for the whole family.
And even if your kids have already gone back to school this year, these habits and principles will help them — and you — keep things on the right track.
Here are 8 parenting tips on how to feng shui the organisation of your child's back-to-school routine that will help you maintain your sanity all year long.
1. Create a "day before" routine
Clearing up clutter around the house the day before a busy school morning will be a lifesaver — and it just takes 27 minutes!
Set a timer on your phone for 25 minutes that you and your kids can use to get everything cleaned and organised, then set another for 2 minutes just to put any cleaning supplies away.
When you start the timer, give the house a quick run over, including a quick swish of the bathrooms, a sweep or vacuum, flat surfaces wiped and finishing off with cleaning your kitchen sink. Always clean your kitchen sink!
From a feng shui perspective, messiness can block the flow of chi and cause arguments and other distractions. On school nights, prepare your dinner early in the day, and keep your meals simple.
And always prepare one or two frozen dinners for times when you may be extra busy (you can do this by making double portions and freezing one half). It's a big relief to get home after an active day out and know your dinner is prepped and you don't have to order pizza or Chinese.
2. Set boundaries for yourself and your kids
Regardless of whether you have a home-based business or work outside the home, you'll need to set boundaries for both your work time and some much needed "me" time. You may even find it easier to rise early and do a few hours of work before the kids get up.
Use this time to prepare for your day, organise your things and your thoughts, or to have quiet reflection. Your feng shui-ed routine will help you stay focussed in the morning and relax when you get home to a tidy space.
Sit with your kids and tell them how your schedule works so they understand when they cannot disturb you. This may take a while for them to learn, so keep consistent and eventually, they will get it.
By setting your own boundaries, you will guarantee that there is a time for you to focus on what you need to get done so that you won't become overwhelmed when taking care of your children's needs.
3. Simplify your family's living space
You'll find it easy to clean one shelf, one drawer, or even one tabletop per day, and it'll be a great idea to have your kids do the same.
Kids do what you do, not what you say. So instead of just telling them to "clean their rooms," tell them areas to focus on, and have them gather toys and old items they've outgrown so they can be donated or let go.
Being consistent with this concept is key. This tidying method is a great habit for them to learn and keeps the feng shui energy in their bedrooms fresh and vibrant.
4. Rearrange your child's room
The command position is an important concept in feng shui. It means that we can see the door from where we are sitting, cooking, working or sleeping, but are not in line with it.
For younger kids, it is recommended to put the bed against a wall as it makes them feel secure at night. For older kids, it is better to move the bed away from the wall as it gives them more independence and room to move around as they grow.
If you don't have room and the bed is in line with a door, place something between it and the door.
5. Set up an area devoted to homework only
This can be a space in their room or somewhere else suitable. Over time, they will start to associate this space with homework and it will improve their focus.
Using a timer to track how long they should spend on homework and other tasks, like chores, can be beneficial as well.
6. Keep your child's use of electronic devices limited
Electromagnetic force (EMF) is the energy that emits from electronic equipment and phones. It is recommended to move electronic equipment and TVs at least 5 inches from your head during sleep.
If your kids have their cell phone with them at night, put them on aeroplane mode. It's also best to keep TV out of a young child's room.
7. Clear clutter from underneath the bed
A feng shui staple to help kids to sleep and feel better is to remove anything stored under their beds so the energy can move freely.
If you need to store stuff, try to keep it to essentials, like bed linens.
8. Add an easily accessible light to your child's space
Giving your child access to a bedside light that they can turn it on if they feel the need is a good idea. And younger kids may like a small night light, though all these things become a habit and sometimes, as you know, they find it hard to let these habits go.
These feng shui ideas will make daily life a little easier for both kids and parents and can help with your family's chaotic back-to-school transition — and beyond!
9. Establish an evening routine
Make mornings easier for both parents and kids by creating a 27-minute nightly routine that can help you plan ahead for the following day. Set a timer for 25 minutes and allow 2 extra minutes for wrap-up. Once you press start, you and your child can jump into action!
Let your child pick an outfit (or two if they like to change their minds a lot!) from the shirt to the socks to the shoes and have them lay it out on their chair for easy access in the morning. Then, make sure their homework is complete and stashed in their bag, which should be put by the front door.
Take this time to talk about your child's day with them, and ask what their wins were or about any challenges they may have had. While they talk, you can prep lunches, if you need to.
And for parents, lay out your own outfits, do a quick tidy-up, and leave your kitchen sink clean and ready to go in the morning. Then, stop when the timer goes off.
By adding these feng shui principles and practices into you and your family's lives, you can create a more balanced way of life and take some of the stress out of the back-to-school season.
Carmel Malone-Quane is a feng shui consultant and wellness coach who works with successful, smart women who find it challenging to maintain their home or office, to keep it organised and clutter free. She uses feng shui to create optimal environments and guide clients to simplify their spaces to be supportive of the people living and working there. Connect with her on her website or via email.