Parents everywhere spend the last weeks of August getting their children ready for back to school – new supplies, back packs, clothes and shoes. We begin reestablishing routines and having a set bedtime. Everything is neatly laid out and ready for the first day of school – you think you’re all set…until the alarm buzzes and the havoc begins! A little pre-planning and some organization can ensure that your school day routine is a little less stressful.
To lessen morning stress, we need to be sure to plan out our mornings. In many families, especially those with younger children, madness reigns and you’re lucky if you even get out the door on time with everything you need. The key to being prepared and getting out of the house on time is to spend time the night before prepping for the morning. Ensure that all lunches are made, backpacks are pre-packed with homework, lunch money, gym clothes and everything else your children need to get out the door is, quite literally, by the door. Make a checklist for your children of everything they need and as the year progresses they can learn to be responsible for gathering their own things.
Getting up early (gross we know!) is really going to pay off for a civilized morning routine. If you can get up before everyone else in the house you can take a shower, get dressed and have a cup of coffee in peace before the troops wake up. Not only will it save you time later and allow you time to get everyone else organized it will also give you some much needed alone time to plan out your day. Getting everyone dressed in the morning can be a major hassle, especially with younger kids. Plan outfits on Sunday nights and put each complete outfit in a hanging canvas cubby that is labeled with each day of the week (IKEA is a fabulous place to find these). If you allow your child to pick out what they want to wear they’re more likely to want to wear it. Make sure they have everything they need in that days cubby – from underwear and socks to jeans and shirts. All they have to do is pull out that days clothes and they’ll be ready to go! Unfortunately it’s your job is to make sure everyone has enough clean clothes to last the week so remember to keep on top of that laundry.
Keep a supply of healthy emergency breakfast items on hand for mornings that don’t run as smoothly as they should – and they will happen to even the most organized parent! Breakfast bars, applesauce cups, almonds, fresh fruit, and juice boxes are all good choices. Anything that can be grabbed and eaten en route will work. Keep these items in a special bin in the pantry and make sure it’s clearly labeled so your kids can find it.
As sad as it is for the long, lazy days of summer to end, September is a great time to start fresh and establish really good routines that will carry you through the chaos of the school year. Enjoy your last weeks of no routine but with a little forward planning you can look forward to mornings that are relaxed and pleasant.