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Time-saving back-to-school tips

A native of the storied coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina, Julie Sprankles has been a lover of words her entire life. As a Southerner, she certainly has what her mama calls “the gift of gab.” When she’s not writing, Julie can be...

A few simple tricks to help save your sanity during back-to-school

Getting your family in the back-to-school groove can be a trying time... to say the least. But, this much we know, the quicker you can get everyone ready and out the door, the less stressful it is for all involved parties. Heed these six time-saving tips so you don't lose control of back-to-school mornings (or, notably, your mind).

Lay clothes out (for the entire family) the night before

You know the drill. One kid is running around in her underwear, another has a sock on his hand and his sister's bow in his hair. When it comes to getting ready for school, there are few things that incite more dread than getting dressed. Eliminate at least a little stress by coordinating outfits each night before and placing them in an easy-to-access designated area. Your kid might still go to school with a sock on his hand, but at least the rest of him will be dressed, too — and in a somewhat timely manner, to boot.

Establish a routine

Kids respond well to routine and if ever there was a time you need your kids to respond well to anything, it's on school mornings. Take time-suckers like cartoons and video games out of the equation. A streamlined checklist will help you minimize distractions and get out the door faster. Think Step 1: Get dressed; Step 2: Report for breakfast; Step 3: Brush your teeth; and so on.

Prep food in bulk and ahead of time

If you wait until the morning of to make lunch, one of two things is likely to happen. Either you will end up running late due to your lack of culinary planning, or you'll simply throw your hands up and give your kids money to purchase food — which, let's be honest, will probably be something sugary from a vending machine. Try setting aside a wedge of time on Saturday or Sunday to prep food in bulk for the week.

But, also, stock up on Lunchables

Here's the thing: Doing the whole prepping-pretty-little-Tupperware-containers-full-of-healthy-food shtick is easier said than done sometimes. Sometimes, you just don't have the time. Sometimes, you just forget. For those times, you can't go wrong with Lunchables. I've never met a child who didn't love 'em, and you can rest easy knowing your kid is getting healthy stuff like a real fruit smoothie.

Check the weather

This might sound like a minor notion, but the truth is not being properly prepared for any given day's weather can throw a major wrench into your morning routine. Have you ever tried to re-wrangle a carload of rowdy kids for a wardrobe change when getting them into the outfits they're in was a bit like wrestling with greased watermelons? It's no fun, and certainly not time-efficient.

Get high-tech

You know what they say... if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. It probably drives you crazy that your kids have such a proclivity for electronic devices but, truth be told, there are a wealth of apps available via your cell phone, iPad or computer that can save you loads of time in the long run. Wunderlist can help you map out and execute tasks, Streaks can help motivate you to keep up with setting aside outfits the night before, Mint can help balance your budget... you get the idea.

This post was sponsored by Lunchables.

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