Parents, hold on tight. The end of summer is in sight. If we can just hold out a few more weeks, it will be back to school! But in the meantime we not only have to weather the hot weather and find boredom busters for the kids but we also need to start preparing for our back-to-school schedule and routines. Since I am not a morning person, for me it means finding and starting now with ways to avoid morning madness, long before it arrives.
Create order from chaos. Now is the time to dig out the school bags and blow the dust off the notebooks. Get your school supplies including backpacks and clothing organized. Set up your system for where bags and lunch boxes will be stored before and after school.
Try it on and toss it out. There is nothing more frustrating for me in the morning than for one of my daughters to put on an outfit and to come downstairs to determine that it doesn't fit. Take a day to try it on and toss it out. Clean out drawers and closets. Sell the items to help with back to school shopping or give away to a charity.
Make a list and check it twice. Now that you know what you do have to help your children get ready and out the door in the morning determine what you don't. Do you need a monthly calendar for the fridge to help keep track of notices from school? Do you need a new alarm clock to help everyone get up on time? New backpack, shoes, gym clothing, or school supplies? There is more to your back-to-school shopping than back-to-school supplies. Find out what works for your family and add it to the list.
Eat it up. Going back to school starts a whole new eating schedule. Pack lunches the night before with the children helping. Set the table for breakfast. Explore a number of easy-to-do breakfast recipes that don't include a lot of sugar or prepared foods.
Tuck them in. Start at least two weeks or more in advance "tucking" your children into bed and getting them up at the time they would need to rise and shine for school. You don't like your sleep schedule disrupted and they don't either. Train them, you and your bodies to get the sleep you need.
Turn it off. No electronics in the morning except for those you need to get up and going or to check the weather. Distractions lead to delays, which end up making you and your children late.
Regular routines. Use a chore or behavior chart to help everyone in the house stay on time and on track. Checking off the chart at 30 minute and one hour marks makes sure that everyone gets everything done from making beds to brushing teeth.
Make chores a bore. Yes, that's right. No chores except for the basics. Include making beds, putting clothes in laundry basket and dishes in the sink part of your regular routine, but other than that chores should be a bore. Early mornings are not the time to add in chores that will get halfway done or not at all in efforts to get to the school on time.
My oldest child is in college. My youngest child is in pre-Kindergarten. A busy school schedule and a busy mom schedule is a lot to handle and there are some things, like rising and shining, that are more difficult for me than others. But using these tips every day keeps me on track and the children to school and the bus stop on time.
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