It is that time again – time for the kids to tuck away summer clothes and toys and pull out the back to school essentials.
In our home, it is the first time this has happened. My daughter began kindergarten two days ago, amidst many tears (mom’s) and smiles (daughter’s).
I have been dreading this day, truthfully. There is something so, well, committal about beginning school. The toddler days are over and seem so far behind when you watch your child pack up a backpack and head down the school corridors like a, well, little girl.
But I digress . . . This post isn’t about how sad this has been for me, but about how I have worked hard to organize our lives so the transition from lazy summer days to back to school schedules are easy – for my daughter, for our family, and for me. I thought I’d share some of these tips with you, because I know that schools all over the states are beginning to open their doors in anticipation of our future leaders’ arrivals.
- Get a good calendar. Not the standard size, either, but one that will hold not only daily appointments like the dentist but things like what day your child is in charge of snack and which days and on what fields your child plays soccer (or insert other sport here).
- Push back bedtime slowly, a little at a time, prior to the start of school. Our girls were staying up until 9 some nights; now they have to be up at 6:55 to get into the car by 7:30. We started pushing up bedtime a little bit at a time two weeks prior to the beginning of school. They are now in bed when they should be, and getting up early in the morning is not as difficult as it would have been had we waited.
- Get your stuff organized. Shoes, clothes, backpack. Have a place for each item. We place the next day’s outfit in one area of the room. We have a shoe organizer set up by the front door. The backpack gets placed on top of the shoe organizer the night before.
- If you can get it done the night before, get it done. I make as much of the lunch as I can and keep it in the fridge, so all I have to do the next morning is toss it in her bag.
- Going along with #4, if you can get it done after school, get it done. We do homework at the kitchen table as soon as we walk in the door. I go through her binder, we read her agenda, and do any work that has to be done – then the binder goes back into the backpack after being signed (along with all papers that have to be returned).
- Create dinners that can transfer to lunches. The other night I made potato soup, which she loves, and then used some of it for the next day’s lunch. This saves down on the time I have to spend figuring out what to make her.
- Reset your schedule. Over the summer I had a tendency to get up later because I could still get everything done. Not now! I made the mistake of waiting to reset my schedule, and so I’m suffering for that this week. In hindsight, I should have been adjusting my schedule when I adjusted the kids’.
- Get yourself ready at night instead of in the morning. If you can make your own lunch, lay out your own clothes, and even wash your hair the night before, do it. The minutes you save in the morning are precious. It always seems like you won’t have much to do, but when push comes to shove we are flying out the door – always missing a shoe or barette in the process. If you get yourself as ready as you can before the alarm clock goes off in the morning you’ll be much better at getting the rest of the gang together in the AM.
- Take it easy on yourself. Make easy dinners. These can still be healthy and nutritious – and in a future post I have some ideas and tips for you to do this – but right now timesavers are needed. If you are going to cook a roast, do it on the weekend when you have the extra time – not in the middle of the week between work, school and soccer practice!
With a little planning, the transition from lazy summer day to crazy school days will not be bad. If you have some tips to share, please comment on this post and help out other working parents who are facing the changing of the schedule.