Um, excuse me? How did summer fly by already? Back-to-school time is always bittersweet for me. It’s a twisted combination of “Yes! Now I can get back to our regularly scheduled life” and “Nooooooo!!! Say it ain’t so!” But unless you’ve figured out how to stop time, (no seriously, can someone let me in on the secret?!), it’s time get these kiddos back to class. Here are my five tried and true sanity savers to get back on track in no time.
- Meal Prep
For easy lunch-making that the kids can help with, we organize lunch items such as string cheese, freshly cut fruit and veggie baggies, drink pouches in the fridge and individual cracker/chip packages in the pantry for easy lunch box loading. Then all we have to do in the morning is make a sandwich, then “grab-and-go” for the rest. Easy peasy. We’ve also taken this approach for breakfast — with fruit cups, and individual brekkie bites (my kids love Nature Valley’s Biscuits in almond butter and coconut butter flavors).
- Mise en Place
This French phrase typically is reserved for the kitchen, but it’s a time saving mantra nonetheless. Having “everything in place” the night before school is a serious sanity and time saver. My kids will set out their outfits; we make sure the backpacks are ready and all homework is done and paperwork is signed before hitting the hay the night before; and shoes are kept outside in the garage (no shoes in the house also makes for less sweeping!) so we don’t spend wasted time looking for rogue footwear as we’re trying to race out the door.
- Make a List
Getting the kids out the door is a team effort! My kids are old enough to take responsibility for their morning routine. But a few reminders never hurt. Instead of hounding them with “Did you remember to brush your teeth?!” “Did you pack your lunch?” We have individual checklists they can refer to that helps them keep on track with all those tedious, yet oh-so-important morning to-dos, such as brushing their teeth, loading their lunch boxes and putting yesterday’s sleepwear in the hamper. This also helps create confident independent children that (fingers crossed!) won’t be relying on us to help them pack their lunch when they’re 15 years old.
- Share the Load
The greatest sanity saver for our family is recognizing that everyone has a role. My husband and I equally share morning duties such as dropping the kids off, signing off paperwork and marking our calendars for important back to school events, which we typically both try to attend (or we alternate depending on our work schedules). In a household where we both work, it’s important that we are both also equally responsible for our share of the daily routine.
- Wake Up Early
Waking up before the rest of my family allows me to organize my own to-do list for the day, get organized and have a little “quiet time” before the chaos of the morning routine begins. Having this time sets my whole day up for success (even if only in my mind) so I feel ready to tackle the day!