There are officially sixteen days until the first day of school, not that I’m counting. Because I allowed (forced) myself to live a care free Summer, the daunting task of preparing for a new school year is sending fear throughout my being. I have had the fortune of multiple mistakes in the all of the years of being a parent to school aged children. This year I have implemented five steps to eliminate most of the back to school madness.
Step One: Establish a Routine
I like to come up with a “in a perfect world” routine for the school year. What time do the kids need to be up for school and what is a reasonable bed time? Are they showering in the morning or night? When is homework time? Are they allowed to have play dates on school nights? Will they take lunch or buy from the cafeteria? Can they participate in extra curricular activities? Once you figure out the answers that fit for your family, make it a rule. Our kids know what is expected of them from the moment they get up for school, including where their backpacks belong the second they walk through the door.
Step Two: Communication
I don’t know about you but I have hard time keeping track of where I am supposed to be let alone the four other people living in my house. We have a whiteboard calendar with everyone’s activities for the month. I also have a post it on the fridge with that day’s activities. Every week my husband and I go through that weeks activities and figure out who is doing what, when, and where. Let me go back and say that before you obligate yourself and/or your kids to anything I would suggest talking about it as a family. I always get my hubby’s support before I make a commitment. My husband is my number one supporter of any adventure I chose to take but he will also honestly tell me if I am over extending myself. Through trial and error we both know that I bear the burden of getting the kids to and from all of their activities due to his work schedule. He helps whenever and however he can but providing for our family is a priority.
Step Three: Meal Planning
For me meal planning is the key to staying in budget and feeding my kids a mostly healthy meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Once you know if you are making kids lunch and what your activities are you can start to plan meals. I am not creative at all when it comes to making school lunches so I rely on Pinterest. As for dinners, I jot down what activities are going on and what time. Then I figure our how many quick meals I need to make. I make every effort to eat dinner as a family. Even if it is slurping down a fifteen minute spaghetti dinner. This eliminates most of the urge to just pick something up because we have nothing quick and easy to make at home.
Step Four: Dry Run
How many of you let your kids stay up late during the Summer? I do! I also wean my kids off of their Summer sleeping routing and ease them into the new school year hours. Two weeks before school starts we have the kids go to bed slightly earlier than normal. A week before school they go to bed at their normal school year bedtime and are woken up according to our school year routine. I try to start making lunch around the same time they will be served at school as well. Trust me. This makes a big difference in adjusting to a new school year.
Step Five: Go with the Flow
Keep in mind life happens. I am often the crazy lady screaming at their children, “We are late, get up we’re late!” Which leads to me handing them a banana to eat for breakfast in the car on the way to school, along with lunch money instead of that healthy lunch I promised I would send everyday. I have also been known to forget dinner altogether. Hey it happens! The point is having a plan prevents most of the irrational decisions on the fly and it let’s your children know what is expected of them.
How do you get ready for the new school year?
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