Switching gears from a summer routine to the first week of school can be stressful for everyone in the family.
Sleeping schedules are shaken up, you have to plan on snacks, supplies and clothes for entire days outside and the kids are either super excited or reluctant about it all.
Staying on top of all this while dealing with the rest of your daily life, projects and jobs may be nerve-wracking.
So over the years, we’ve perfected a careful selection of tips and hacks that make things easier when it’s time to for the kids to embark on another school year.
Now, we’ve put them here along with some of our favorite back to school advice from fellow organization bloggers.
1. Prepare Sleeping Schedules
Feeling drowsy and running late are two things that are bound to ruin the first day of school. But you can help ease everyone into their new schedules by having them wake/sleep at the desired hours a week before school starts.
This may be greeted with some resistance at first. After all, numerous studies have recently shown that kids aged between 5 and 12 need about 10 or 11 hours of sleep each night, but only get 9.5 in average.
Not only that, but your kid might be an early Night Owl - a person whose circadian timing system favors staying up late into the night.
While many parents in several countries have taken measures to get the school day to start later, such as the American Start School Later movement and the Danish B Society, the truth is that your kid might have to adapt to a day that starts at 8 am.
You can tackle this by getting them to wake up early for an activity they love, one that preferably gets them outside into the sunshine early in the day. That way their bodies can get accustomed to rising early.
Then, it will be easier for them to go to bed at an appropriate time and greet the first day of school with a good night’s rest instead of struggling to adjust once school, and all the havoc it implies, is in session.
2. Get Ready As Much As You Can The Night Before
Another way to ensure an easy morning routine is to get things organized before going to bed. This includes setting up backpacks, prepping lunch, setting out their outfits and whatever gear they may need for afterschool programs.
That way, all the things that you and your kids have to do before getting to school can be done somewhat automatically, while saving time as well.
If this results in you being able to leave earlier than intended, you can feel less stressed about your kids getting there on time or potentially missing their bus or carpool.
3. Play Music In The Morning
A nice tip we got from the parenting website, “Super Healthy Kids” recommends playing music that your kids enjoy while they get ready for school at the beginning of each day.
Apart from being an additional stimulus that can help them wake up and be in good moods, it can also be a way to track time. If you put together a playlist, your kid could start recognizing how much time he or she has left depending on what song is playing.
4. Keep An Emergency Kit In The Car
Another one we’ve seen on numerous blogs, and one we have adapted to our own routine, is keeping an emergency kit in the car for those times when you’re running late for whatever reason.
This can include grooming items like hand sanitizer, mouthwash, a hairbrush, or even improvised breakfasts like cereal bars or other non-perishables.
You can also create one for any last-minute homework that might get done in the car. These are also handy for those times when your kid forgot to have you sign a field trip form, or when the photos that were perfectly glued to a science project poster board the night before are suddenly falling off.
As you can see, people make these sort of emergency kits with pencil cases or even zip lock bags, but we would recommend our very own Car Seat Organizer to stack with whatever items you might need in a school-time emergency.
5. Get Them There Safe And On Time
If your kids are starting out at a new school, we recommend reviewing school routes even before the first day.
This will not only save time when the day comes, but it’s also a widely recommended safety measure. If your kids walk to school by themselves, this will ensure that they know the way.
Also, this helps you make sure that the particular route is a safe one. You can check for things like proper sidewalks, pedestrian walkways, and find the route that minimizes street crossings.
6. Make Their Supplies Stand Out
Whether it’s decorating them, adding personalized name tags or even making your own DIY school supplies, it’s important to make their items stand out somehow.
This goes for school supplies as much as sports gear, lunchboxes, and backpacks.
7. Hack The Lunch Break
When it comes to the snacks that will keep them energized and in good moods, there are several ways in which you can save time while making them happier about their lunch.
For example, you can start a self-serving station from an empty pantry shelf or one of our Premium Foldable Organizers. You can stack it with granola bars, dried fruits, crackers, or whatever treats they prefer. Now your kids will be able to build their own lunch each day as they please.
Photo via www.goodhousekeeping.com
We also recommend taking this further and stacking not only snacks together, but anything that's part of lunch.
You could devote a whole cabinet for the Tupperware, thermoses, lunchboxes, and snacks that they need to take with them. Then apply the same organized thinking to a part of the fridge, like a section for sandwich essentials.
8. Create A Drop-Off Point For School Gear
Following that same line of thinking, you can assign a space within the entryway or mudroom for your kids to drop off their school gear. This includes backpacks, books, and assignments.
Then, you can tweak it with whatever other essentials you might consider adequate, like this parent inbox for them to leave any paper slips you might need to sign.
Image via: thekrazycouponlady.com
You could also add a large wall calendar, schedules, and a school supplies station. For the latter, or storing anything else they might need, we use our Premium Foldable Organizer, since they can easily be taken from the drop-off point to the car and back.
9. Use Organizers In The Car For After-School Activities
For after-school activities, we use our own Trunk Organizers. We keep two in the car and use their sections to divide items per child or activity. That way it’s harder for them to ever forget anything.
They also get to be in charge of their own things. We just make sure they have those little tools to help them stay orderly.
In the end, all these little tips and tricks are good for organizing, helping you as a busy parent and saving time.
But they’re also a great way of teaching your child to be more organized... helping them make the most out of their time in school and other activities, while feeling great every step of the way.