Tips for a saner school year?

Now that we're a few weeks into the school year, routines are fully in effect. Sort of? Okay fine, it's still a work in progress. Things that you thought would make pre- and post-school routines run more smoothly? Well, they don't always make sense for your family. And the trial and error process is a huge pain in the arse.

In our house, it's the simple things that make a big difference and remarkably, we seem to have developed a nice flow. (See, now I jinxed myself!) We also try as much as I can to make sure the kids are involved.

So what might work for you?

  • Wake up an hour before the kids. Get yourself ready first, and when the kids are up they can help get breakfast ready.
  • Make sure the kids' backpacks are packed the evening before school. Will they have an activity after school? Have the kids get their soccer gear, piano materials, instruments, etc., ready and set them with their backpacks.
  • Same goes for lunches. Put non-perishables in lunch bags/boxes the evening before. Make sandwiches and refrigerate them. The next morning, just add them to the mostly-ready lunch box.
  • For younger kids (think kindergarten/first grade), help them plan out outfits for every day of the week. Keep them labeled in their closet or dresser, Monday through Friday, so the kids can get ready easily (and quickly!) in the morning.
  • Create a family calendar. Whether it's a weekly or monthly calendar, plot out your days and prominently display the calendar in a central area where the entire family can review it. It should include practices, games, travel, and library days -- any significant activity. You can also use a white board or chalkboard and update it daily.
How is your school year going so far? And what routines have helped you stay organized and sane?

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