We’re quickly approaching that time of year we both love and hate. The thought of adding some routine back into our lives is very attractive, but the hazy, lazy days of summer have been pretty sweet and tough to give up.
Face the back to school season with a successful plan. Here are a few strategies that work in my busy household. I have to get six kids out the door by 7:45am so I mean business in the morning!
1) Set up routines kids will stick to
Tired of being a nag in the morning? Feel like a broken record barking out things like, “Don’t forget your lunch!” and “Have you packed your homework?” Stop the insanity. Set up a simple system that will get them out the door while keeping your frustration levels down. At our house, we have a “Before School Plan”, which is a chart listing all of their morning duties. My kids mark off each duty as they complete it. If I see a child standing in the middle of the kitchen with a “deer in the headlights,” look I don’t bark and ask them what they should be doing, I refer them to their “Before School Plan”. Training your kids towards independence is the best gift you can give yourself.
2) Organization starts with you
Everything has a home. Each child has a cubby for their agendas and homework. There is nothing worse than running around in the morning trying to find gym shoes. Avoid the chaos by designating a location for all school and lunch supplies. Do as much as humanly possible the night before – pack lunches, lay out school clothes and set the breakfast table. If anyone in your house thinks changing their mind about what to wear in the morning is an option, remind them it is NOT.
3) Streamline lunch-packing
Freezing sandwiches to use throughout the week, or even making casseroles and soups on the weekend to throw into a Thermos, is a favorite with my kiddos. Got yourself a little juice addict? I say cut them off cold turkey. Water is the best drink for kids at school and it’s easier on the environment than the hundreds of little juice boxes you’d use in a year. Get children to start making their own lunches or help with lunches as soon as you possibly can.
4) Save money and time by planning ahead
Shop off-season, clear out closets to assess what can be handed down and for goodness sake, go to www.mabelslabels.com and label all clothing to make sure it comes home at the end of the school day. There is nothing more horrifying than the lost and found at elementary schools! Parents spend a lot of money on clothes, uniforms and school supplies. Make sure they don’t get lost.
5) Top tip – find yourself some helpers!
Don’t feel like dragging a toddler and baby to the bus stop every morning in the dead of winter so you can get your older kids on the bus? Yeah, me neither. See if an older kid who goes to the same bus stop is happy to do the morning pick-up and afternoon drop-off for a cool $10 or $20 a week. “Bus buddies” are a good investment for busy mamas. Another good investment is a homework buddy. Homework is often a time of conflict for parents and kids because we are too darn emotionally attached – things heat up when we get frustrated. I have a high school student come to the house and my kids love having some time with their big kid friend. Homework is not something any of us dread anymore!
With the right support, routine, tools and environment – you can say you’ve done your part in setting your kids up for success while also saving yourself from back-to-school insanity.
Get your kids back to school ready with Mabel’s Labels.
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The contest will be open until August 15th 11:59PM EST.