Developing a successful routine for the school year doesn’t just happen like magic-it takes a bit of creativity, basic planning and a few indispensable tools. But the rewards are well worth it. You can achieve more time for you and your child, fewer frantic mornings, and a happier mom.
Remember what they say, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy!” There are a few tips that will help you be a happier, more organized mom. We all know when Momma is happy, EVERYBODY’S happy!
The first bit of advise is to remember that successful school days begin the night before.. Therefore consistent and early bedtime routines are essential. Most 4-5 year olds should be in bed no later than 8:00p.m., and most need to be in bed earlier. Healthy routines help children feel secure and build self-esteem. Allow at least a half hour after dinner for reading to your children (or allowing him or her to listen to books on CD/tape if you will be leaving them with a sitter), quiet play time, brushing teeth, and saying goodnight to other family members. Personalize the routine in a way that works for your child!
Second, lay out all clothes, even shoes and socks. Involve children in these decisions if it’s important to them. This preparation saves up to 10 minutes in the morning and avoids surprises (“I thought you washed my costume yesterday!). Make lunch/snacks the night before and use this opportunity to teach kids about healthy food choices (carrots or celery? Grapes or an apple? Other clever lunch choices: pasta in disposable, mini plastic deli containers sold at Smart and Final. Avoid pre-packaged”kiddies” lunches (low nutrition +high price=bad idea). Review your own schedule to make your game plan for the morning easier. Load car with stroller, diaper bag, briefcase, and dry cleaning.
Try to clean up the kitchen before you go to sleep so you avoid facing a morning mess for breakfast. Some mom’s will find relief if they set the breakfast table the night before or even prepare and portion out the dry cereal.
Now for after school success we have to look at our preparedness. Can you arrange to pickup your child from school ON-TIME? Essential role modeling of the consideration and sense of responsibility you want your kids to develop for you. (Also gives them plenty of time to talk to you in the care without you being overly harried.) Have non-messy snacks for children in the car if you live more than 10 minutes from school and empty backpacks each afternoon after school to avoid unpleasant evidence of old lunches and avoid missing teacher’s notes. It is essential to look inside of your children backpacks daily!
Schedule homework time and relaxation time for your child. Teach time to put homework back in backpack right away. Sit down for a healthy dinner with our children. Offer a variety of foods, including soups, salads, meats, to discourage them form becoming too picky and only being willing to eat hogs and pizza from take out restaurants.
Lastly, in the morning before school give a half hour from wake-up time set aside to leaving the house. Encourage healthy breakfasts, including pancakes, grilled cheese, bagels and cream cheese. Moring time will be more relaxed if you did all the things you should have done the night before!