I promise this will be my last “back to school” preparedness post as we are now at the point of no return – the first day of school is less than a week away. My back -to- school tips are practical and will not require you to create a memory binder, keep a school year time capsule or make paper clip flags out of washi tape – I don’t even know what washi tape is quite honestly. The below are simple to implement and will save you a little time and keep you from falling below the “sane” line.
- Sleep – I know, you know how important sleep is but I can’t do a post about “back to school tips” and not include my number 1 tip for making the school year run smoothly. These kids need sleep, y’all. And it takes a few nights of the 8 – 6 sleep cycle to get them back on a schedule so start a week ahead. I don’t have teenagers, so I can’t comment on their sleep habits, but I do have 5th and 4th graders and the lights will be out by 8 o’clock. (Reading with a light is cool for a while after lights out) It’s not easy, and it makes me a crazy person some nights, but it is, hands down, the best thing you can do for your kiddos. Give them the gift of a good night’s sleep. You will ALL benefit.
- Hanging Clothes Organizer – Regardless if your kids wear a uniform or not, buy them an in-closet clothes organizer. Hands down, my favorite school tip. Let them pick out five outfits on Sunday and fill each “day” so there are no “Mom, I have nothing to wear” sagas in the AM. I would not be able to survive without this thing. Each of my girls has to wear a PE uniform, twice a week, on different days and there is no way I’d be able to keep it all straight – or have time to do the wash mid-week. We purchased ours from the Land of Nod, which no longer exists, but Crate & Kids has some fun color options for $20 here.
- Kid Alarm – Buy your kids an alarm clock. At a certain age, we need our kids to be active participants in the morning routine. Having them wake-up on their own is a huge first step. Yes, you are still going to have to poke your head in to make sure they are up and moving but this will save you a few minutes and, teach them some responsibility. My girls love their Echo Dot Kids Edition. They have Alexa set their alarm each night and have her wake them up to their favorite song.
- Ice Packs – Buy extra and keep them in a specific spot in your freezer if possible. I’m ashamed to say, the Duffy fam isn’t so great at unpacking our lunch boxes. I’m guilty of this as well. Thankfully we have eight of these Multi-Colored Slim Reusable Ice Packs at our disposal so regardless of our forgetfulness, our lunches always stay cold.
- Pack the Gear – Know what extracurriculars your kids have that week and make sure your car is packed with whatever gear they will need – soccer ball, baseball bat, helmet – whatever it is. Keep a bin in the back of your car and make the kids pack it for the week on Sundays. I can’t tell you how much life I’ve wasted searching for a soccer ball.
- File Box – As soon as your kids start school, school, you need some kind of system for important papers. I’m not talking about art work – I’m talking about field trip slips, permission slips, graded papers – the papers that MUST be signed or there are consequences. Also, the papers that come home with important dates. I keep a box with hanging folders and have one folder designated for each girl. Anything they need me to read or sign, goes into their folder…..I just have to remember to check it every night. I love these file boxes from Poppin – look good enough to keep on my counter.
- Meal Planning – It’s key, y’all. Once you try it, you will never go back. #dinnerwiththeduffys
- Homework – Stinks but it’s not going away. You can create the most perfect work space for your kids, but it won’t do a darn bit of good unless you set, and enforce, the expectations. We do homework as soon as we get home. My girls know this and know there is no way around it. We study after they come in from playing. This is how we role. You do you, just stick with it. If the kids know you aren’t messing around, they will eventually give up on the arguing. Consistency is your best friend, people.
XO ~ Kelly D.