It seems like shelves are immediately cleared to make room for composition notebooks, washable markers, and #2 pencils RIGHT after the last firework explodes on July 4th. Back-to-School season starts earlier every year and it always catches me off-guard. It’s been a family routine for almost seven years, but shifting from free-form summer days to school year organization is STILL one of my greatest mom-challenges. I’ll use the “H” word. It’s appropriate here. I HATE it.
To help ease the stress of this inevitable transition, I have implemented a few “hacks” to help organize our school days – and maybe YOURS! By making these subtle (and FUN) changes in your routine, you will find responsible, satisfied, happy little students ready to walk out of the door each morning. No frazzled children with missing homework. WHAAAA??? I know…..read on, my friends. You’ve GOT this!
Let’s Do This!
School Night Checklist
This awesome checklist has eliminated whining, arguing, and tears at bedtime. Expectations are clearly set on the Bedtime Checklist and my kiddos know exactly what needs to be done before storytime. My girls LOVE to check off their bedtime responsibilities, and it gives them a final sense of accomplishment to their busy school days. Use the buttons below to find the free checklist printables. Print, laminate (or put in a plastic sleeve or inexpensive frame), and place it somewhere convenient in your child’s room. Hang an erasable marker close by, and BAM……hassle-free bedtime, friends!
School Day Morning Checklist
Same principle as the Bedtime Checklist, however it usually works better to place these checklists somewhere in the kitchen (where all forces converge in the morning). I can’t tell you how many times this has saved us from forgotten lunches, blank homework signatures, and missing snacks. Again, letting the kiddos check off their morning responsibilities is a great way to get the school day off to a positive start! The last item on this checklist is “positive affirmations”. I find it makes ALL of us feel better if I can send my kiddos off with a simple, honest, empowering phrase or verse. If we don’t get to talk about it at home during breakfast, then we chat in the car on the way to school. Here are a few of our favorites (we RE-USE a lot of our affirmations):
- Learning new things is SO amazing and fun.
- Doing my best does NOT mean that it has to be perfect.
- My tiny little doubts are not NEARLY as strong as my HUGE love for new challenges.
- I am so creative it’s SCARY!
- If something is challenging, I will definitely LEARN from it!
There are SO many resources with positive thoughts, verses, and phrases. Find what works for your kiddos. It might be just ONE word for the week……like “kind” or “strong”. It’s a great way to connect with your children, and you will find it helps YOU throughout the day as well!
Get your FREE printable checklists here:
Portable Homework Station
A Homework Caddy is the hassle-free way to make sure your kiddos have everything they need to complete their homework – without the frustrating search for their pencil sharpener, glue stick, or scissors. One super easy carry-all container holds everything they need and can be easily moved from room to couch to deck to kitchen table. Must-haves for the Homework Caddy vary by age and grade, but make sure to include a lot of sharpened pencils, markers, and extra paper. This is so easy to put together with supplies from Walmart, Dollar Store, or wherever you buy back-to-school items. I can’t tell you how many times this ONE homework survival hack has saved us from stressful evenings of finding supplies. I love to personalize each caddy – almost like a little portable desk for each kiddo.
“Breakfast of the Day”
If I leave breakfast decisions to whatever seems convenient THAT morning, I find myself throwing granola bars over the seat to my kids as we’re pulling out of the driveway. Not a great (or nutritious) way to start the day. To end this frantic packaged-bar-car-eating ritual, we established a “Breakfast of the Day” routine. It has been a huge success in getting my kiddos fed every morning. Similar to “Taco Tuesday”, breakfast is specific for each day of the week. Everyone knows what to expect on their plate each morning! If items can be made beforehand, it’s an easy pull from the fridge or freezer. Not only do my kiddos feel nourished when we leave the house, but I feel successful in getting them ready to learn. Here is a sample from one of our weeks (we change it up throughout the year):
- Monday: Breakfast sandwiches (make ahead – freeze and pop in the microwave)
- Tuesday: Pancakes (make ahead – pop in the toaster)
- Wednesday: Overnight oatmeal (kiddos LOVE to help make this at night)
- Thursday: Protein “grab and go” muffin (make ahead – freeze)
- Friday: Cereal of choice
Give it a try. Once you get “Breakfast of the Day” established in your family’s morning routine, it eases the stress of last-minute scrambling for SOMETHING to eat as you all run out of the door. My kids love to help me decide on the monthly menu!
No Electronics or TV
The “No Electronics” policy has definitely created a more peaceful atmosphere in my home every morning. We talk, laugh, and share much more before leaving for school. Previous to this morning amendment, my kiddos would get out of bed and and sit comatose in front of the TV or an iPad. I had to pry them off of the couch to get dressed – often resulting in a chaotic rush to get ready for school. This simple rule has been a game changer. I WILL allow a device to be turned on ONLY when the morning checklist is completed and they are ready to walk out the door. Since they know TV is an option, there is extra effort made to get their morning routines completed!
I hope these ideas and tips help you organize your household for the school year. Inevitable fire drills will still happen – a broken shoelace, lost glue sticks, spilled chocolate milk (usually on a white shirt). But having a solid, established BASE routine helps to minimize the impact of those emergencies.
If you have tips, hacks, or routines that work in your home, I’d love to hear about them! Comment in the section below to help other moms find great ideas. It take a rockstar village, friends.
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