Better Parenting: Stay Organized

Kathy has three children who go to three different schools that start at the same time. She asks TV personality Brooke Burke, a mother of four, how to be better organized and get the morning off to a smooth start.
"I totally understand your position," Brooke says. "And that's what it's all about, being organized. With multiple children, I cannot run my life, not even on my phone calendar, without a really great paper calendar.

"What I do, because I have kids in different schools, too, is I sync the school calendar with [the paper] calendar," she adds.

Brooke uses a sticker system that places different stickers on the calendar for different events, such as doctor's appointments, play dates and days off. "Everything that's going on in the kids' lives related to school is on this calendar," she says. "And without it, I'm in big trouble."

In addition to her own calendar, Brooke uses a colorful paper calendar for her kids, so they know what is on the schedule every day. Other tips for an easier morning include setting the breakfast table and making lunches the night before.

"I take breakfast orders at night so I know what everybody wants, and we're not making decisions with cranky kids in the morning," Brooke says. "I'll pack a really healthy snack drawer so everybody can pick [snacks] out and help mom out a little bit.

"Everybody pitches in a little bit," she adds. "All those little things make a really big difference. You've got to count on your kids a little bit to help you out."

• Get Dr. Sears' back-to-school tips!
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