We are all getting used to a brand-new school year, and after the craziness of the last school year, it’s hard to remember what “normal” even looks like. While the pandemic isn’t over, kids are in school in person this year and I’m already bracing myself for chaotic mornings and busy after-school routines. Lunches? Snacks? Water Bottles? School Supplies? Masks? There are SO many things to keep track of as a parent, and when you’re trying to get out the door at 7am, it can be a challenge. Here are a few ideas our family has found helpful for simplifying our school year schedules!
- Keep a visible family calendar – a big calendar full of the daily and weekly activities can be so helpful for parents AND kids. A quick glance at the day in the morning and help make sure everyone is on the same page and prepared for what to expect that day. I love these family organizers.
- Let the kids help – mornings are always busy, so let the kids help with things they can. Maybe they pack their own snack and fill their own water bottles each day. Let them dress themselves, find their shoes and load their backpacks. Whatever you can take off your plate in the morning is a huge WIN!
- Have essentials by the front door – It’s easy when you’re in a hurry and/or half asleep to forget little things. Put backpacks, gym shoes, masks or anything else you’re worried you’ll forget near the front door. This makes it so much easier to remember to grab it as you head out. Along those same lines, have your kiddos put their water bottles and snacks in their backpacks as soon as they’re prepared!
- Prep the night before – Some things are easy to do in advance, like fill water bottles or pack snacks and lunches. If you have the time to do it the night before, it definitely helps make the mornings go smoother.
- Quick and Easy breakfasts – breakfast bars, overnight granola, cereal, oatmeal, fruit…choose foods your kids can eat quickly with limited help from an adult! My kids can prepare their own breakfasts each morning which helps so much!
- Snack bins for the win – We have a bin full of grab and go snacks, which makes packing a snack for school so easy! We also have larger sized snacks (Goldfish, pretzels) and snack bags they can easily fill themselves. I let the kids choose their own snacks to bring to school from the options in the bin!
- Leave LOTS of time – getting ready and out the door almost always takes more time than I expect. To combat those “disappearing” minutes, we wake up earlier than we’d like each day. This gives us a little wiggle room to drink coffee, find missing folders, tie shoelaces or dig out umbrellas and jackets. Whatever “surprises” happen in the morning, we try to leave enough time to work through them.
I’m sure each family has their own tricks and tips for getting through busy school days, but I hope these ideas are helpful as you mentally prepare for a brand-new year!