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A day in the "Life" of a busy mom during back to school does not have to be a hectic one. I start preparing 6 weeks ahead of time because we have little ones who need a slow transition back to their school schedule. The first thing we do is move up the bedtime an hour for a couple weeks and wake up an hour earlier in the morning a couple weeks later until a few weeks from the first day of school and they are going to bed at 7:30 pm and waking up at 7:00 am. This is a huge help when school starts because they are ready to go in the mornings and can last the school day without any melt downs. This makes school day mornings and after school attitudes so much better. They are ready for day to do their best and still have some steam left over at the end of the school day to get homework done as well.
Organization and preparation is key to a stress free back to school schedule. I have found that if we have a step by step schedule, the little ones respond well to this and know what is expected on a day to day basis. Older kids too! Once every family member knows what you expect out of them, there is less and less conflict, stress and wasted time during the school week. Example: Wake up, use the bathroom, brush teeth, get dressed and make your bed. Lunches in the backpacks and out the door to the bus stop.
I really try to make the preparation and organization a family event and make it as fun as possible. We play word games, sing, dance...giggle...more dance moves. With the little ones we talk about what we are doing and why and involve them in the process and decision making.
As far as making lunches together the night before, depending on what it is and what can be prepared ahead of time, We use zipper bags to divide up assorted fruit and veggie snacks. Sandwiches, with condiments on the side. We use an assembly line system and with little ones, it helps with sorting, counting and so much more. You will find that making 2 or 3 lunches ahead of time prepared and ready to go will make you smile in the morning when everyone's lunch is prepared, including your own and there is no scramble in the kitchen and your kids get a balanced healthy fun lunch. All this preparation leaves us time for family fun at the end of the day and no tears before bedtime.
I like to make after school snacks fun and healthy to set the mood before homework!
A small 5 or 6 tier dresser or cubby can be used for each child and their school outfits and even after school play clothes and sports uniforms can be placed in each drawer which is labeled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I place their backpacks on top of the dresser so we always know where they are and they are ready for the day. Allowing kids to pick out their own outfits or giving them a choice of this shirt or that shirt for the week, with supervision of course lets them be a part of process, especially if you have a child with control issues. The girls pick out hair ties, headbands, hair clips etc to match each outfit for the week as well. This set up makes getting dressed in the morning so much nicer for everyone in the house. Again, no tears no raised voices, no stressed moms or kids.
A quiet study area with everything you would need to complete homework, right there organized and ready to be used. This way, they can concentrate on what homework they need to get done and we don't end up doing homework until bedtime. It saves so much time every day.
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