How to Streamline Your Kids Going Back to School, and Save Your Sanity.
It’s almost that time of year again. Summer starts to wind down to prepare for fall; kids are getting ready to go back to school. You are buckling down for a stressful time to come, but there are simple ways to keep your sanity before the kids go back to school, and during the school year.
We all feel the stress of knowing our children are going back to school, the expense before they start, the chaos that occurs every morning. Stress is not healthy for you, but what can you do in this situation?
Here are some tips to help you get your kids back to school and save your sanity on the first day back to school.
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Reasons for streamlining going back to school.
1. I am already stressing about spending money that my budget doesn’t have.
2. I don’t want to make my already busy schedule busier than it already is.
3. I don’t want every morning before school to be a cluster of chaos and cause stress for everyone.
4. I don’t want to have to be late for work because “Johnny” forgot his homework, or his lunch, or XY and Z.
If you are a homeschooler, points 2 and 3 still apply to you, you epic homeschooling, hard-working parent!
Organization that streamlines going back to school
1. Make a list of everything you know or think your child will need:
Check with your school district to find out their clothing requirements before shopping. Some schools use uniforms, some schools allow regular clothing but prohibit specific items such as miniskirts and logoed t-shirts.
What I would start my kids off with when they went to public school:
- 5 pairs of pants
- 5 short sleeved shirts
- 2 long sleeved shirts
- 1 light jacket
- 7 pairs of underwear
- 7 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of tennis shoes
- 1 pair of nice shoes
B. School Supplies
Some school districts like mine require specific supplies. Public schools in my area require pre-sharpened Ticonderoga pencils and a 64 count box of Crayola Crayons. Find out what requirements your district has before going supply shopping.
C. Lunch boxes and book bags.
As homeschoolers, we use LunchBot’s bento boxes, mason jars and glass and BPA free Snapware for lunches, snacks, and breakfasts. Bento boxes are also perfect for taking meals to school or work.
Keeping your child’s paperwork in an easily accessible folder makes this step simple. I keep all folders in my file cabinet, so I remember where I put them.
- birth certificates,
- Shot records, You should look over your child’s shot records and find out if they are due for a booster. Usually, your doctor’s office will call you when your child is due for a checkup and shot updates, but sometimes they don’t.
- Medication and other health needs,
- any other paperwork your school district requires you to show them.
- Declaration of homeschooling intent if your school district requires it. Some school districts also require you to send in your curriculum outline also.
- Transfer paperwork if you are going to a new school this year.
2. Make a Command Center and drop off zone.
Handy for all schoolers, including college-aged people, or old people who have gone back to college…
I love the school center The 36th Avenue created on the side of her refrigerator. Plenty of room for a calendar, school supplies for homework, and charts for each child.
Drop off zones:
Elisha at Pneumatic Addict built a beautiful drop off zone for her twins. They have a spot to drop off their backpacks, jackets, and papers. I love how Elisha is teaching her boys at a very young age to organize. Never too young to start that life skill.
Don’t forget to pick up Elisha’s free building plans for her drop off zone.
If tackling Elisha’s project is too intimidating for you, Shanty2Chic has built something similar. Their project is perfect for the beginner DIYer. Watch the video and pick up their project plans.
3. Brainstorm two weeks worth of easy, healthy breakfasts and lunches for on the go that you can prep each weekend.
Don’t forget to cook once, eat twice. Leftovers make epic lunches. Soup for breakfast is also a filling and healthy way to start the day.
Here are some breakfast recipes to make on the weekend for the week ahead to get you started:
- Pear and walnut Pancakes
- Old fashioned Baked Oatmeal Recipe
- Alyssa’s Breakfast Casserole (Primal Friendly)
- Amanda’s Ham, potato, egg, and cheese Breakfast Casserole (Primal Friendly)
- Autumn Breakfast Casserole from Real Simple Good (Paleo and dairy free, Whole30 Compliant.)
- Paleo Overnight “Oats” from Real Simple Good (Whole30 and Paleo) There are no oats in this oatmeal.
- Overnight Oats – 8 Ways from Life Made Sweeter. These recipes contain oats.
- Kitchen Sink Egg Muffins from Sarah Lynn Smile.
4. Find out where all the back to school sales are for clothing and hit up The Dollar Tree for school supplies.
If you are shopping online, try out Ebates for cash back on your purchases. If you are not already a member, Ebates is free to join.
Check out Kathryn from Do it on a Dime’s video on how to get the best deals on school supplies from The Dollar Tree and Walmart. Head over to her website and pick up her free Back to School Deals printable while you are at it. (It is the 4th download on the page.)
Things to do with your child to streamline going back to school
Go through closet and dresser
After you make your starting clothing needs, have your child help you go through their closet and dresser. This is also a great time to do a purge if you haven’t done one since Springtime.
- Sort into piles of Play Clothes, Good Clothes, Donate, Toss.
- Put outfits together with the Good Clothes pile and assess what your child needs for the first few months of school.
If you get lucky and don’t have to buy many new items or none at all, consider treating your child with a new outfit for the first day of school.
Create a morning and evening routine for your child.
You do have a morning routine for yourself, don’t you? If you need help creating your own morning routine, I wrote about how to create a morning routine that actually works a few months ago. You get the added bonus of creating an evening routine that works too. The method will work for children as well as adults.
Morning and evening routines work for everyone, including children. Try to incorporate your own morning and evening routines into your child’s routine.
If your child doesn’t have a routine yet, you should start getting them used to it at least two weeks before school starts.
My kids’ morning routine.
We sat down together and discussed their morning goals before they started doing their school work.
Wake up at 6 am open curtains and make the bed.
6:10 am family breakfast time, put dishes in the dishwasher.
7 – 8 am Get laundry out of bedroom hampers and take to the laundry room. Work out with Mom. (Such a fun bonding moment.) Shower, brush teeth and get dressed for the day.
8 – 9 am: Read, write, relax, play, watch tv.
9:00 am Start school for the day.
My kids’ evening routine:
Once all assignments are done, and we have gone over their work, all books and materials get put away and into their files. If you are not a homeschooler, your child could do their homework when they get home and put everything back in their bookbags once finished. Book bags are then placed in that awesome drop off zone you made, ready to head out in the morning.
3:00 – 5:00 pm Leisure time to do what they want.
5:00 – 8:00 pm Daily evening chores, eat supper as a family. Watch a tv show together. Take dogs for a walk.
8 to bedtime pm Leisure time PLUS Wash faces, brush teeth, lay out clothes for the next day.
8:30 pm Tech blackout. Nontech leisure time.
9:30 pm Youngest goes to bed (Children between the ages of 6 and13 need 8 – 12 hours of sleep per night. My youngest feels the best during the day after 8.5 hours sleep. Before school starts is the best time to figure out how much sleep your child needs each night and when the best bedtime for them should be.)
10:00 pm Adults and teens go to bed
Now that your kids are ready to go back to school and mornings will be a breeze, my dear busy parent; relax, knowing your hair is still intact. Don’t forget to take time for yourself.
Do you have a back to school plan for your kids? What are your thoughts on evening and morning routines for your children? Let me know your thoughts and tips in the comments below.
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