Simple Back To School Routines.
My family loves the summer. During those long, lazy summer days and nights, we’re always in the backyard listening to music, swimming in the pool, roasting marshmallows by the firepit, or barbequing. So, when August slips by as quick as it does, we find ourselves with anxiety during the first few weeks of September. It seems everything is fast forwarded as we rush to get back into the swing of the school routine, work, rush hour traffic, etc.
Getting back on track after the summer takes a toll on the family, but practicing thoughtful preparations can help keep chaotic mornings calm so everyone enjoys their day (at least I’d like to hope so).
Get a head start on morning routines
Make the kids tidy up and have their homework in their book bags before bed to eliminate scrambling around in the morning.
Have the kids shower at night. This helps them relax before bed and it frees up the bathroom in the morning.
Organize clothes the night before to give them extra time for other things they need to do in the morning.
Plan out breakfast, for your sanity and quick food prep. My one bowl pancake mix recipe is guaranteed to provide some good brain food without taking extra morning time.
Get a planner outlining daily/monthly schedules that the entire family can see.
I need the organization. It’s not a perfect system, because life always finds a way to throw a wrench into the loop, but for the most part, it helps me stay ahead of the chaos. With it, I can avoid overscheduling myself and my kids. It helps me plan out days for some quality family isolation from the everyday chaos to keep us all sane. Most importantly, it helps me with meal planning since I know ahead of time which days I shouldn’t cook dinner (you’re welcome).
To keep my planner easily accessible to me and my family, I’ve transformed the side of my fridge into a chalkboard, outlining every day of the week. That way, my kids have a visual and we’re all on the same page. Pinterest is loaded with lots of ideas: search “chalk fridge.”
Negotiate Screen Time
My son is a gamer, so I’ve been dealing with the Fornite epidemic for months among years of video game tug-a-war with him. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of video games, like Super Mario Brothers, Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Zelda, Just Dance, etc. However, it’s important that he learns to balance his time gaming and doing what he needs to get done, like homework and chores. I can’t guarantee these tips will work, but they’ve helped me and my son to create a routine.
Create a timed schedule. At first, he only had an hour of play time; and time gradually increased as he got older and the games became more complex. As I said, I’ve played Zelda, which can easily have a sit time of about 2 hours just to complete one mission, so I understood the “game” situation. I also took into consideration that my son brings home good grades, helps around the house, and is involved in year-round extra curricular activities.
Set expectations. With him starting his first year in high school, I let him know that he can no longer play as long as he did in the summer. He’s allowed to play on weekends, but that depends on whether or not he has homework to complete and/or any baseball/basketball games scheduled. Not to mention, he needs to keep up with his “face-to-face” social life.
Also, limit phone use in the bedroom at night. I do this with all 3 of my children: no one is allowed to have their phones charging in their rooms at night. This helps eliminate the urge to check social media or respond to texts when they should be resting. Since I’ve kept up with the gaming schedule and the nighttime phone use restrictions, my kids understand that this is not a punishment, but a way to keep them focused and well rested. It helps that they trust me too, since I lead by example: if they can’t have their phone, I can’t have mine. Of course, this gets tested daily, because if I forget to ask for their phones, they will not bring it down; but for the most part, they don’t fight me when I do ask for them.
Hopefully these tips can help you get on track for the rest of the school year if you find yourself struggling or need some new ideas. As moms (and dads), we sometimes give in to the morning battles and go with the flow to make the rest of our day easier, but this eventually drains us and makes it harder to catch up. If you have some helpful tips on making mornings easier, please share below in the comments!