By Sarah Anderson
With Labor Day behind us, almost every child in the United States is back in school, and let’s face it: going from the lazy days of summer to getting up and getting ready for school each morning can be a bit of a hassle. Even the most organized and energetic families have difficulties getting back into their daily routine. Sound like something you can relate to? Take a look at these ten tips for making back-to-school time a little easier.
- Wake up at the same time every day. Getting up early can be a pain for all ages. If you and your kids spent the summer sleeping in, it will be especially hard to rise to an alarm clock each morning. However, the more often you do it, the easier it will be. Stay away from that snooze button!
- Go to bed at the same time every night. Just like waking up in the morning, establishing a bedtime will go along way for both kids and parents. According to WebMD, three to twelve year olds need about ten hours of sleep each night. This may not always be possible, but going to bed around the same time every night will make for a better morning and healthier kids.
- Pack lunches and book-bags at night. If you’ve ever spent a large portion of your morning looking for your keys or that important paperwork that you need to turn in to your boss, you know it can make you late, prevent you from completing other necessary tasks, and throw your entire day out of whack. Preparing lunches, lunch money, homework, and backpacks before bed and putting them in a special spot near the door will leave your kids with more time for breakfast, showers and may even keep them from missing the bus.
- Keep extra supplies in the car. From lunch money to pencils, kids are always running out the door without some of the important things they need for the school day. Keep a few extras in your purse if you carry one or in your car’s glove compartment so that you don’t have to rush home or stop by the store or ATM on the way to school.
- Write down your schedule. Too much to do in the morning? Make a list and post it on the wall. If your children are old enough to read, let them get involved. From eating breakfast to brushing your teeth, make a list of everyone’s morning responsibilities and check them off or have the children check them off as they’re completed each day.
- Plan your outfits ahead of time. Planning your outfits the night before can also shave a good bit of time off your morning routine and planning a whole week’s worth of outfits on Sunday night can help you even further. Make sure your laundry is done, matching items are chosen, and accessories are laid out before morning. No wants to spend ten minutes looking for a shoe that’s buried in a closet or trying to figure out if their favorite jeans are clean or dirty.
- Put together a breakfast menu. Once a week or once a month (whenever you do your grocery shopping), sit down with your kids and figure out what kind of breakfast they would like to have before school. Make a menu for the upcoming school week and be sure those choices are readily available for your kids. Even if you cook elaborate, nutritious meals every morning, be sure to have something quick and easy on hand for those days when you oversleep or have some other kind of catastrophe.
- Take some time on the weekends to organize. Weekends are generally a time to rest, but they should also be a time to prepare for the week ahead. Catch up on your laundry or be sure the kids have a clean area for doing homework. A few extra steps on the weekends can make the week move a little more smoothly.
- Ask your children if they have homework every day. How many times have moms and dads heard “I forgot” when it comes to homework? Asking your children if they have homework after school can be a gentle reminder to do it the night before instead of trying to cram an hour’s worth of spelling words and math problems into a fifteen minute car ride. Also, make sure there are no notes from the teacher about big projects that are due or extra supplies that need to be brought to class. You don’t want to wake up one morning only to have your child remember they were supposed to bring a snack for the entire class that day.
- Allow your children some independence. Don’t become the household dictator in order to establish a routine. It make take a little while, but by letting your children make some decisions and do things on their own, they will eventually become more inclined to do things without being told. Allow them to pick out their own clothing for the week. Have them prepare a special place for homework or decide what time they want to do their homework. Let them put together their own breakfast and lunch plans (within reason, of course).
How does your family manage to stay sane during school mornings?