School is starting here next week so we are in high gear trying to get out of summer mode and back into our school year routines. With three kids, this is no easy task. While fall is my favorite, not much compares to the lazy morning of summer when we don’t have anywhere to be and we sleep late and lounge in PJ’s till lunch time. With my oldest beginning middle school this year, I will have kids on two different school schedules, one starting an hour earlier. These changes have me feeling a little crazy and nervous. To make our back to school mornings a little less hectic, I have some tips to share, as well as a fun printable that will help your kids be sure they have everything they need to start their day off right- including one of our favorite traditions, movie night!
The first few weeks of school can be challenging! It’s tough getting back into the routine of getting to bed on time, and getting up early. My son always has been an early riser, but my girls will sleep past 9 if they can. Since my oldest needs to be getting up at 6:00am this year, I KNOW this will be no small task. With a few tips and tricks though, I can help to make these mornings a little easier.
The key to making your mornings less hectic can be boiled down to three things: planning, preparation and TIME. Whatever you can get done the night before, do it. If an item has to be saved for the morning, be sure you have enough time to do it. Sound easy, right? It’s not. It’s one thing to just get yourself out the door for work or an appointment, but add in three kids who are tired- and that’s a recipe for disaster!!
Here are some of my best tips for making back to school mornings a little easier:
- Prep what you can at night: make lunches, pack snacks, fill up water bottles, pick out clothes. Taking a little time before bed to be sure these are done will help save you precious minutes in the morning. Having a bed time routine and incorporating these into it can help too.
- Have a system for homework and papers to be signed/filled out. In our house, I check backpacks right after school, fill out or sign anything right away, and have my kids do homework first thing. I know there are some schools of thought that say kids should have time to decompress right after school, which I do agree with, but with sports and clubs and friends, I like my kids to have their assignments done straight away so then we are not doing homework at 9:00 at night after practices and showers, or even worse, in the morning before school!
- Practice your morning routine a few times before school actually starts. This is especially good for little ones just starting school since this is new to them and you!
- Be sure to wake yourself up early enough to be completely ready before you have to get the kids up. Unfortunately in this house, I have to be totally ready to go before I get my kids up, or else it completely back fires on me. Once they are up, I have to be totally in kid mode or else nothing gets done. It’s also nice to have coffee in silence too.
- Have some simple breakfast ideas ready to go. You want to send your kids out the door feeling full, but no one has time to make a 5 course meal. Simple, filling, healthy and FAST are key. If you need some ideas, here are a whole bunch!
- Learn to delegate some tasks to your kids when appropriate. Does the dog need to be let out and fed every morning? Have an older child handle it. One small thing off your list can be a big deal.
- Have a checklist for your kids. Kids need to know what is expected of them without you having to constantly remind them. This isn’t always easy though. Having a check list for each child or one to share can be a life saver for those busy mornings.
Looking for a nice checklist?? Look no further! I have made a very simple one for you! This list tells my kids what they need to have done every morning and more or less what order it should be done in. These simple tasks when completed correctly, can save all of us time and a lot of frustration every morning. To print it, just click here or on the image, save it to your desktop and print it out! I laminated mine so we can use a dry erase marker with it and reuse it each day, since the items don’t change.
Once your kids KNOW what needs to be done, it’s important to make it easy for them to help you with it! Have backpacks and lunch boxes in a place they can reach, have clothes organized in their rooms so they can find an outfit easier, and have healthy snacks ready to go so they can help pack what they want each day.
Having simple to grab snacks, like Lance crackers, make it easy for my kids to grab a snack from the pantry and pack it in their bags. Made with real peanut butter and real cheese between crispy baked crackers,up to 5 grams of protein, and no high fructose corn syrup, I know these treats are a good choice for my kids and a satisfying snack solution for my family’s busiest school days. At Lance, their sandwiches mean more for our family – flavorful, wholesome, filling and portable.
Another one of my kids absolute FAVORITE snacks is popcorn, and Pop Secret is truly the best. I like to pop a bag while we are having breakfast and divide it up into three containers so my kids can take one to go for lunch or snack that day. With that great butter taste, Pop Secret popcorn is a delicious and high-quality snack that I can feel good about sharing with my family- and it’s fun to eat too! I grabbed both these delicious snacks at Walmart at a great price too.
Once you have your printable check list, easy snacks ready and have practiced your school morning routine, one of our last back to school traditions is to celebrate with a family movie night! Pop some of that buttery Pop Secret popcorn, get your favorite DVD and snuggle up before the craziness begins. One movie we can’t WAIT to watch at home is the new Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. We saw it in the theater when it came out and it was a riot! My kids absolutely loved how funny it was and I loved the awesome message of the great friendship between Harold and George and their connection through a love of writing and creativity. It’s truly perfect for family movie night! The Captain Underpants DVD will be available in Walmart stores 9/12! Be sure to reserve your copy now by pre-ordering today! While supplies last.
So make this school year awesome by begin prepared, organized and cutting yourself some slack when things don’t go as planned. Once your kids know what is expected of them, they’ll be able to help you out each day so everyone can get out of the house on time and happy!