It's the end of summer for many school-age kids. And it's been a fun summer for us. We've had beach days, pool days, overnight trips, lazy days, days of play and hiking trips as well. But, like many parents, I'm also ready for the school year to begin. As a parent, I'm ready for more routine in our days. And I'm enthusiastic as my kids welcome this new school year.
This year, I'll have a preschooler, a 3rd grader, a 5th grader and a 7th grader. Wow, just writing that out is crazy. Where did the time go?!? But, back to the topic...let's make this as easy as a transition as possible. Here are the tips that make getting ready for school easier.
1. Early to Bed, Early to Rise
I know for some families, the summer bedtimes are later than the school bedtimes. But for us, I keep the same bedtime, all around the year, with the occasional exception. I’m a strong believer that everything starts with a good night’s sleep. For this reason, my kids are in bed by 8pm each night. We have a routine during the day that allows us to be done with dinner and in time for bed early. I’m militant about it, because I know that late nights = cranky mornings. Since they are going to bed early (by the way for your family, you may find that an even EARLIER bedtime may work better), I am able to have them up early enough to give us amble time to get up, have breakfast, get dressed and out the door in time for school.
I also think it’s important for me, as the parent, to be well-rested. The importance of sleep has been studied over and over and personally, I know I’m a better parent, when I make sleep a priority for myself as well. I’m usually in bed by 9pm most nights and welcome the day nice and rested before my kids wake up.
2. Prepare Lunches and Snacks Ahead of Time
One of the most time-saving things I do is to prepare the snacks and lunches the night before. Some children are provided snacks and lunches at school, but if yours is not, or you have enough food allergies that you can't partake in school snacks and lunches, then your child has to bring their own.
I love using LunchBots containers for snacks and lunches for my kids. When the kids were younger, I used the Quad and Trio containers, but lately I've found the Cinco container to be better. It holds more and I can pack all of the day's snacks in it.
For the sake of ease, I usually do the same snacks all week long and then change it up the next week. Some ideas include (for some of these, I quarter or slice these to fit into the container):
- Plantain chips
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Fig bars
- Nut bars (excluding any nuts your school doesn’t allow)
For the actual lunch, I usually do pasta, a sandwich (variety is key here), or a wrap (again mixing it up each week or having a rotation). These I like to pack in the Uno LunchBots. At times, I will do a hot lunch (left over dinner from the night before) and for this, I heat it up the morning of school and pack it in an insulated container.
Doing the majority of food prep for snacks and lunches the day before will make mornings so much easier for you and your little ones.
For older children, use this time to teach responsibility by having them prepare their own snacks and lunches the day before.
3. Getting Ready in the Morning
I have the kids get their clothing out for school the night before. They (including my preschooler) get their complete outfit out and lay it on a chair in their room. This alone has saved so much hassle the morning of school. No more of “I can’t find sooooooooocks!” as you are trying to get the kids out the door.
School is starting again for many families. And after a long summer, I hope that these tips will help you prepare for the best days ahead. Share your own tips by commenting below, I'd love to hear them!