With the many moving targets of family life, back-to-school time can be hectic and stressful. These simple organizational steps can help everyone enjoy a smoother and more successful start to the new school year.

Set up one large calendar for every­one in the family. Keep it in a convenient place. Record school notices and important meeting dates. Pencil in when all assignments are due. Write the day of the week for gym class so your child will remember to wear her sneakers. Get her in the habit of checking the calendar before starting homework and before leaving for school each morning.

Together, agree on a specific homework place and time. The place can be the kitchen table, a small desk, or any area that works for your family (and has adequate lighting). Determine whether your child likes getting work done right after school or needs time to play and unwind before starting. Try to maintain his schedule as much as possible. Reassess after a week or two and make adjustments if needed.

Keep clutter to a minimum. Make sure that the space designated for homework has necessary tools nearby, such as a pencil, eraser, crayons, scissors, and a glue stick. Keep the tools together in an easily accessible container like a shoe box or a small basket. Return the container to the same place when finished working.

Keep backpacks and lunch boxes in a specific place and help your child remember to store them properly right after school. Empty and inspect backpacks together at the same time each day, such as right off the bus or right after dinner.

Help her remember to put completed homework (and other necessary supplies) in her backpack each night before going to bed so she will get credit for work well done!