The kids are getting ready to go back to school next week. I'm looking forward to having a little more time throughout the day to get things accomplished without the constant mediating of sibling arguments or moans of "I'm bored." I'm even glad to have some routine back to our lives. But, waking up early and getting the kids off to school on time is not my favorite aspect of the impending school year. When I'm disciplined enough to follow these tips, our morning is as smooth as the butter on our toast.
1. Create a Spot for Important School Papers: Even though a lot of our school's communication is now done online or via email, the kids still come home with a lot of paperwork: homework, projects, permission slips, donation forms, event reminders, party invitations. They all land on the counter closest to the door. Be sure to setup a "landing pad" for these items, along with other important papers like bills or coupons. A vertical filing system close to the door can be especially effective for keeping these items in a convenient and tidy place.
2. Prepare Outfits for the Week: One night, my husband and I had dinner with our girls at an Asian restaurant. After our meal, the waiter brought out five fortune cookies instead of four and asked if we knew why the extra cookie. He even offered to discount our meal if we guessed correctly. We were stumped. The answer? The last person to grab from the pile still had a choice. What a great lesson! Kids love choices, especially when it comes to their clothing. But, they aren't always the best at picking out seasonally appropriate clothing. (Like that one time my daughter came downstairs dressed in a sweater dress and jean jacket in the middle of the summer.) So, take 5 minutes every Sunday evening to pick out six school appropriate outfits and place them in a separate location, including the necessary undergarments and socks. I especially like using a closet hanging bar to separate school clothing from others. My girls love being able to choose their outfits, and I love not having to send them back to their room for a wardrobe change.
3. Prepare Lunch Items for the Week: Everything runs smoothly when you’re prepared. Take some time on Sunday evening to make lunches for the week. Or, for older children, setup a lunch station for kids to select their own items for lunches throughout the week.
4. Wake up Early: This is my least favorite tip, as I love to stay up late and struggle to get out of bed most mornings. But I find if I can wake up early enough to get my routine in front of my kids', the morning is a lot better. After all, there's nothing more annoying than my kids getting into my cosmetics as I'm getting ready, or poking their heads in on me in the shower. So, if I've completed those tasks before my kids awake, I'm ready to focus on helping them get the items they need to have a successful school day.
5. Have a Visual Checklist for Your Kids: Hand your kids a dry erase marker and a laminated checklist to get prepared for the day, like the one here. Make it a contest to see if the entire family can complete their tasks by a certain time in the morning. You can even reward kids with extra screen time or a fun activity if they complete their tasks with extra time to spare.
With these tips, you should be off to a great morning!
Need help getting your family organized? Contact me for your FREE evaluation! Shayla Brubaker, aka The Declutter Bug: DeclutterBugCo@gmail.com