Around much of the country, parents and children have already settled into their back-to-school routines. For some, school has been back in session for longer than others – but nonetheless, it’s upon us.Around much of the country, parents and children have already settled into their back-to-school routines. For some, school has been back in session for longer than others – but nonetheless, it’s upon us.
Perhaps some of you have had a bit of a harder time getting back into the swing of things. Or perhaps this is your first “official” school year, if you have children that are just now coming of age.
Either way, here are some tips for getting back into practice, if you’re having a hard time coming up to speed.
1. Create a morning routine
If mornings are hectic, it could be because your kids (or you!) don’t have a routine. Routines give everything order and put everything in place, both for you and for them. Even if you’re just not a morning person, establishing a routine will help everything along.
Establish a set time to wake up every morning and stick to it. Coach your kids on what to prepare and in what order (brushing teeth, showering, getting dressed, having breakfast, and so on and so forth) in the order that makes the most sense.
It’ll take some getting used to, but after a few days, the routine will take care of itself, which will help lighten your stress in the mornings.
2. Meal prep ahead of time
It doesn’t matter what meal we’re talking about here; plan it ahead of time. It makes the most sense to prepare lunches the night before so they’re ready to go in the morning, but if you’re a morning person and want to get up and prepare them, that’s fine too.
Just make sure you have all of the ingredients and everything else you need, including packing materials and lunchboxes, ready to go.
Preparing breakfasts and dinners ahead of time (or at least portioning) is also helpful – but if you’d rather cook so your food is fresh in the mornings and evenings, that’s alright – as long as you plan out ahead of time what you’ll be having.
Don’t just “wing” it. That’s unprepared, and lack of preparation is (in large part) where stress comes from.
3. Set clothes (and other personal belonging) out the night before
Clothing and outfits are like meals in the sense that you should have them ready to go ahead of time. Set out clothing for the next day the night before (not just for the kids, but for yourself too!).
That way, you can just get up and go, and your kids can too. When they get older you can help them pick their clothes out and establish the good habit of being prepared the night before.
4. Label everything
Here’s a lesson parents soon learn early after the first few days of school: children don’t always come back with everything you sent them off with.
This is nearly inevitable, but there are things you can do to help prevent these headaches. Namely, keep everything organized and involve your child in packing his or her bag. Create checklists that children can reference (pictorial, for young children that cannot yet read) to help them remember if they have everything or not.
Also, labeling your children’s belongings helps, too. Personalized school stickers are great for this, and you can use them to label everything from clothing and school supplies such as binders and pencils, lunchboxes, water bottles, toys and so much more. (Check out a collection of customizable, themed school stickers via the previous link.)
5. Set aside time at night to work on homework and other projects
Finally, set time aside at night to take care of homework, and make sure there is dedicated time every night for it. Without sectioning off some time to take care of official school work, it’s too easy for hours to pass wasted on other diversions.
Block off some time and keep to it, the same time, every day.
Go Forth and Conquer
Who cares that “back to school” is “officially” over and the school season is already underway? Life is a learning experience and if this is your first year with school-age children, it’s better to implement these practices now even if you’re getting a late start rather than waiting a whole year!