Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back to School Tips

Every parent finds themselves rushing through the morning routine to get the children to school and one or both parents to work. There is no doubt that time is of the essence! I am by no means perfect, but I have found a few strategies that help save time and get us out the door by 7:30am, all of us dressed and ready for the day.

1. I know you don't WANT to do it, but wake up BEFORE the children. I give myself about 20 minutes every morning to shower, brush teeth, apply makeup and get dressed. I try to never leave the house without makeup. That is just my thing. Maybe it's all those years of my mama telling me to wake up for my 7:50am college class so that I could use my hot rollers to curl my hair and at least put on some lipstick. Mama, it worked!

2. Lay out clothes for all of the children the night before and include any socks, shoes, hair accessories, etc. Nothing kills time like searching for a missing shoe or uniform shirt.

3. If your children wear uniforms, you need to buy at least two. At our house, one uniform is always in the wash, and the other is on your body. I love weekends because I can peek at a stack of clean uniforms! Put your child's uniform out for the next day too.

4. Have children bring dirty clothes to the laundry room as they shed clothes that morning. I don't use laundry hampers because I want to have an idea of how many dirty clothes we have at all times.

5. If you are changing someone's sheets or have a full load, go ahead & start a load of laundry.

6. Try to unload your dishwasher before you go to bed so that it has plenty of room for morning dishes.

7. I like to unload lunch boxes when the children walk in the door after school. I spray them with Clorox Anywhere spray and pack them for the next day. They are kept in the refrigerator overnight, and we add ice packs in the morning before they are put in the backpacks.

8. Keep your backpacks in a place where they are easy to retrieve. Ask your children to put everything back in their backpacks each night before they go to bed. If they need to bring a project or show and tell to school, it should be out near the backpack or the backdoor.

9. Add a set of hooks in your kitchen or laundry room if you have room for backpacks. We don't in this house, but I loved our hooks in our old house!

10. Decide on breakfast the night before and go ahead and pull out the pan you need for eggs or the plates you need to serve the children. Anything you can do in advance will give you more time for meltdowns and shoe tying!

11. It's hard to remember in the rush out the door, but try to pray for the children's food and their day. It really does bring peace.

12. Try to feed your children some protein every morning. It helps give them a good start to their day. Yogurt, eggs, bacon, and cheese are all helpful. Fruit and whole grain bread, bagels, or cereal is good too! Don't get me wrong; we love a morning with cinnamon rolls!

Have a GREAT week!


Raining Pearls said...

Thanks, can't wait until I have a child and put all of your tips into place. Your blog is like a handbook for graceful Mothering. Love it :)

EntertainingMom said...

Our household runs much the same way. I HAVE to get up before the children... have my coffee and read my favorite blogs ;)

We lay our uniforms out the night before and make sure we have whatever sports clothes we need for the day as well.

My kids eat lunch in school. Prepared with food from local farms. They are so lucky and don't even know it!

I have one hamper in my bedroom. I have a rough sense of what is cleaned and not.

I am equally as rigid about after school chores. We arrive home between 4:30 and 6:30 depending on the sport. Homework is #1 priority. Then showers, reading for 20 minutes and if there is time television is allowed. I'm all for wind-down time. Kids need it as much as we do.

However, in order to get TV beds must be made and rooms cleaned... any PJs or clothes lying around must be put away or into hamper. If they are not out the door by 8:15 they loose TV... and if I have to remind them about brushing teeth, making beds, etc...

I loosen rules on the weekends. I hate messy looking kids rooms with unmade beds and won't tolerate it!

Yes, you are a Graceful Parent!!!