Back. To. School. Can you believe this is already happening? Summer is so great and such a nice break from the norm with its relaxed days, later bedtimes, casual mealtimes, and generally not-super-scheduled-out vibe. I love it! The spontaneity it allows is refreshing! However, this casual approach to life (with kids) just doesn't fly during the school year with all of our various schedules and commitments, so it's time to figure out some time saving back-to-school routines to make your life easier and your schedule more streamlined. Not only will a great routine make your life less stressful, but (bonus!) it can also teach kids valuable skills about how to prioritize, the importance of meeting deadlines, and how to become a little more independent!
I have put together some great tips below for getting yourself and your kiddos back into some easy and (mostly) painless routines. Also, check out my newest obsession - the family command center! I am determined to make this a part of my home this year, and you should join me if your family could benefit from some super-organization (and really, who couldn't?)!
1. Stick to a consistent bedtime and bedtime routine. This can be a tough one after the unstructured bliss of summer - it's worth the effort, though. Quality sleep is essential to healthy growth and development. Help yourself and your children get the sleep you all need to face the busy day ahead by sticking with a steady bedtime during the week and keeping the routine the same - this will signal to the brain that it is time to shut down and rest. Extra important for kiddos: cut off screen time at least an hour before bed!
2. Set yourself up for AM success in the PM. Setting out school and work outfits, making sure completed homework is rounded up and placed in backpacks, making lunches, and prepping your coffee maker the night before can all make a huge difference in the morning!
3. Pad your mornings with an extra 15 minutes. This is a game changer! As all parents know, sometimes the unexpected happens, especially when you are trying to rush out the door to school and work. You will thank yourself for getting up 15 minutes earlier than you need to when this happens, and on days when everything runs smoothly, maybe you have time to give the kids an extra snuggle or sit and drink a hot cup of coffee before heading out the door - I think it's a win-win.
4. Make the morning "to-dos" into a visual. It's easy to expect our kids to know what needs to be done before leaving the house (since, you know, it's the same basic list of things every single morning). However, the stress of rushing around in the mornings can cause kids to forget even the most basic steps, so my solution to this is to make a visual checklist for them to refer to. Five minutes on Pinterest will give you tons of easily customized ideas for this!
5. Create a family calendar. This is where my new obsession with the family command center comes into play! In its simplest form, a family command center consists of one big calendar with each family member's schedule clearly listed. This makes it easy to see any conflicts and gives everyone the chance to know what is happening on a daily basis. While many people choose to do this digitally (which is also great!), having things written down in a central location for all family members to see is a great way to involve your kids in their own schedules. Keep reading below if you want to know more about taking the family command center to the next level!
The family command center is exactly what it sounds like - an organized space where you can keep track of all of the important happenings in your family. As we all know, it can be extremely difficult to keep accurate tabs on what each member of the family has going on at any given time - sports schedules, school field trips, business travel, permission slips that need signed, bills to be paid, mail to be opened, weekend slumber parties, date nights. There is so much happening in our modern lives that it can feel overwhelming to keep it all straight.
So, how do we go about making one? First, pick a high traffic area of the home where it will be easily seen. Then, determine what elements will best serve your family's needs. A calendar is a must. Other options include a spot for incoming and outgoing mail, your weekly meal plan and a place to jot down grocery list items, a communication board for family members to write messages, hooks for keys, a charging station for electronics, a clock. The list could go on and on - the great thing is that there are so many options and you can select the most effective ones for your family's current situation.
I can't wait to set one of these up for my family (thank you Pinterest for making it so easy to get inspiration)! I'm also determined to get into a great school year routine with Quinn using the tips above. I hope I have inspired you to do the same with some fun ideas and easy tips!
Always remember, I am here for you! If you have questions or need help with anything, I am just a phone call, text, or email away.