We hate to break it to you, so we’ll say this as gently as possible: Summer is almost over, school is already starting and you (really) aren’t ready.
if your kids go Public Schools Here in IndianapolisYou’re almost a week into the new school year, but you probably feel like you’re headed for a solid month at breakneck speed. It’s not easy transitioning your home from the lazy, hazy days of the summer vacation to a school-time routine—and the pace is bound to pick up as we care about fall and the holiday season.
So what’s a busy parent to do? You explore all the best hacks, tips and time savers you can use to lower your stress levels and make the school year easier. Let us help you get into the groove:
1. Choose Outfits for the Weekend
organization is everything When you’re a busy parent.
Whether you have one or three kids that you need to get ready for in the morning, usually the biggest struggle is trying to get them ready. You can have one kid who pulls clothes out of the laundry tomorrow and puts them on again and another kid who will fuss if their outfit isn’t right. Either way, this is a fight you don’t need.
Take the whole problem out and cut the time it takes everyone to get ready by choosing outfits weeks ahead of time. If you purchase hanging clothes organizers and specify a day for each shelf, your kids can easily select and store their chosen outfits (and accessories) on the weekends. It can make for a drama-free (and worry-free) morning.
2. Make Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Easy
You can put more effort into family meals on weekends: what you need during the school day is efficiency and speed:
- BreakfastA variety of healthy, easy-to-fix options are available, including cereals and milk, instant oatmeal, fruit, bagels, and hard-boiled eggs (pre-cooked and stored in the fridge).
- Lunch: If your kids buy their lunch at school, you can have their lunch money distributed as they walk out the door. if not, third graders and up Can help you pack your lunch. Set up a packing station with sandwich containers, granola bars, juice boxes and other lunch items. After a few days, children should be able to manage without supervision.
- dinner: It’s stressful to arrive home and realize that you have no idea what to make for dinner. Eliminate the frustration by planning your dinner in advance. Tape a menu to the fridge so you remember what needs to be defrosted for the day.
3. Establish a Dedicated Drop-Off Station
Unless you want your home to constantly look like a little whirlwind of books, papers, coats, and shoes have invaded it, you need a place to collect all of these items.
The ideal location is right inside the door from where the kids leave in the morning and return in the afternoon. Whether it’s your front hall or the mudroom at the garage entrance, set up a “drop-off” station. Give each child their own hooks for hats, scarves and coats, and their own basket for bookbags, musical instruments and sports equipment.
Not only does it keep the rest of your home free of clutter, it also helps eliminate lost textbooks, missing papers and forgotten assignments, which can solve other problems parents face during the school year. does less.
4. Create a Distraction Free Homework Zone
Once your kids have taken a break and snack, it’s time to tackle homework. A distraction-free zone is the best way for your kids to focus and do their job – so it’s a parenting essential.
Decide on a good place to handle your kids’ chores. If they’re older, they can be their respective bedrooms – as long as the doors are left open so you can occasionally look and see if they’re living up to the task. If they are small, you may need a table and chairs where you can easily join them and help with the difficult stuff.
5. Organize the Family Command Center
We mentioned earlier that organization is key when you’re meeting the parenting demands of the school year—and the pinnacle of organization is the “family command center.”
Start with a large calendar on the wall and a stack of colorful markers so you can mark important events, such as band and choir concerts, and parent-teacher nights. Add a dry-erase board so you can write reminders or send messages. Add a basket for important papers and you’re ready! You have a functional control point that anyone in the house can see what is happening and what needs to be done.
6. Have a Bedtime Routine
A good night’s sleep is important for both your kids and you – so don’t overlook the power of a structured bedtime routine. Naturally, you should adapt this to your family’s internal rhythms, but it could look something like this:
- At a set time, turn off the television, turn off the game system, and turn off the laptop.
- Walk the kids through their bath or shower and get them in their pajamas.
- Have a group breakfast, go about your day and get ready to sleep.
Once the kids are put to bed, don’t forget that you need a few minutes of TLC every night, too. Relax in the shower, do a little reading or have your nightly glass of wine in peace before heading inside.
Finally, we’re offering one last tip that can help make the school year easier for both kids and their busy parents: Don’t forget to take time to recharge. You can’t really control your schedule during the week, but you can give yourself a much-needed break on the weekends. Dedicate half of your weekend to something fun and half to “down” time so that no one (adult or child) feels overwhelmed by the pressures of school time.