One of my favorite sayings is “a failure to plan is a plan to fail.” Since my husband and I both work full time, back to school time takes a little bit of extra planning. I try to streamline our routines so we don’t get overwhelmed. Our kids don’t go back until after Labor Day, but I know a lot of school districts are already back in session. Here are a few things we did last year to help streamline our school days:
1 – Use a house planner or shared digital calendar. My husband and I both use Google Calendar and I put every school event, family committment, etc. on our calendars before school even starts. We also have a paper planner that we use with our nanny for vacation time, school events to prep for, etc.
2 – Create a daily checklist and hang or tape it inside a cabinet or closet near the door. Our school morning checklist is simple: 1) backpack, 2) lunch box, 3) two snacks and 4) a water bottle. For younger kids you can use pictures for your list instead of words, so they can ‘read’ the checklist themselves. Have kids look at this on the way out the door to double check they have everything for the day!
3 – Dinner can be the cause of a ton of stress in the school year (or anytime of year, really). A local service like Small Potatoes in Milford, MI has been a life saver for us. They create delicious, made from scratch meals that you can have delivered to your door. If you’re local to the Ann Arbor, MI area, I highly recommend checking them out! And if you’re not local, search for something similar close to you. I love that they are fully cookied and we don’t have to prep anything. I also try to prep 1-2 meals on the weekend as well.
4 – We ‘theme’ weekly breakfasts. For example, for a full week the boys will have pancakes for breakfast, then the next week it’s eggs and toast, etc. This helps to prevent from being a short order cook first thing in the AM. They know what to expect on the breakfast ‘menu’ each week.
5 – I was floored when I saw how many drawings, worksheets and journal entries Max brought home his first year of school. I would need 100 refrigerators to display them all! Instead of cluttering our fridge, I took pictures of his school work and art work at the end of each week and then threw them away. It sounds awful, I know, but at the end of the year I created a printed Shutterfly album with pictures of school work, art projects, report cards and pictures of him and his friends. I can’t believe how cute the album turned out, and Max was so pumped look through it! I plan on doing this for each boy every school year.
6 – Pack lunches the night before. I know, easier said than done. I found that even when I just set out the snacks and had them ready to go it made the mornings a little bit easier.
7 – Keep a running grocery list. I have a small note pad I leave on the kitchen counter so I can quickly jot down an itme I’m running low on. I know some people like to use a grocery list app on Alexa or Google Home devices as well. If I don’t keep a list of things throughout the week I never remember what I need when it comes time to grocery shop!
Do you have some ‘must-have’ back to school tips for keeping life less hectic for school? I wanna hear about them! Please comment below and share your tricks!