The transition from summer to school can be a struggle for everyone in the family. The early wake-up calls, the after-school activities, and the (ahem) homework means all you really want to do is hit the snooze button. Again. We’ve all been there. You grow accustomed to your leisurely summer lifestyle, but back-to-school time throws you into a crazy schedule, and it’s a tough adjustment to get back on track.
Before your family comes unraveled and you throw your planner in the trash can, check out a few ways to get your family into an ideal back to school routine.
Set Manageable Expectations
Of course, there are things you do every day like eat breakfast, brush your teeth and get ready for the day. Incorporate these into your routine first. Schedule time for when you are making and eating breakfast, have an idea of when you should be dressed and ready to go and have a 5-minute time frame for sending the kids out the door on their school days. Once you factor in these essentials, you’ll have a good gauge as to what else you can add to your morning, like exercising, collecting laundry, or paying bills.
Now, you might be optimistic that you’ll have all the time in the world when your kids are at school all day. As tempting as it might be, don’t bog down the schedule right away. You’re going to be in an adjustment period, so hold off on scheduling appointments or coffee dates until you’re in the swing of things. It’s also okay to say “no” to some things. If you aren’t super excited about an activity, or you simply don’t have the time for it, just say no.
Saying no goes for your kids as well. It’s good to be involved, but doing too many things can be a challenge and can cause burnout.
Make Time for Family Dinner
Through all the chaos that occurs during any given week, eating dinner together will help ground your family. It can be easy when you’re faced with a busy schedule to pick up fast food and call it good. But if you take some time to plan out your meals, your family will keep on a schedule and will be eating healthier.
You might think that cooking every night of the week sounds like a pain, but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re not already, become fast friends with your crockpot. It’s the easiest way to make a tasty meal with practically zero work. You can even prep these meals by putting all of the ingredients in a baggie and keeping them in the freezer until you dump them in the crockpot. Here are some crockpot recipes to add to your arsenal.
Get Ready for Tomorrow, Tonight
Most of the time when mornings turn from tranquil to chaotic, it’s because you and your kids are trying to do too much. Instead of rushing around in the morning to fill lunch boxes, pack backpacks, and pick out outfits, spend 15 minutes of your night to work ahead.
- Pack lunch. You’re going to have to clean up the kitchen after dinner, take that time to pack lunches too. That way, you’re lessening your clean up time, plus you can give the kids leftovers from dinner in a thermos for an awesome lunch surprise.
- Zip up backpacks. It’s a good idea to dump out backpacks after each school day. Your kids will stay organized and on top of their homework, and there won’t be any more lost papers! Once they’ve finished their homework, have your kids zip up their backpacks and set them by the door for an easy departure in the morning.
- Pick out outfits. Have your kids pick out their uniform the night before. They can even choose outfits for the full week and put them hanging cubbies in their closet. That way there’s no wardrobe stress all week!
If you follow these ideas, the morning will (hopefully) be easy! All they’ll have to do is wash up and eat a tasty breakfast before piling in the car.
Don’t underestimate the time it will take to get into a back to school routine, and don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t come together right away. Implement some, or all of these ideas, give your family time to adjust, and you’ll be back in the swing of things in a few weeks.