Back to school can feel like a huge relief to some of you parents… you’re given the gift of a more structured daily schedule with more time to yourself, right? But as kids get older, their schoolwork, extracurricular activities and social calendars begin to consume your free time. We’re here to offer some timesaving and organizational tips to keep you sane this school year. Freeing up a little “me time” will do you good!
- Post the family schedule
Whether it’s on a chalkboard, white board, bulletin board or hung on the fridge… it’s important that each member of the family is full aware of every soccer game, parent-teacher conference, doctor’s appointment or otherwise. There’s nothing worse than the panic and guilt associated with forgetting to pick up your kid from practice because you and your spouse each thought the other was doing it. Stay organized and you won’t miss an appointment!
- Create “stations” for school work and supplies
The dog can’t eat their homework if it’s organized in a drawer, bin, folder or shelf. Designate an area of the home where kids can be their most productive and this will enable better organization. Having to track down textbooks that are hidden under the guest bed, have fallen behind the couch or left outside in the rain can be avoided if a designated homework area is established. Once work is done, pack up their backpacks the night before and you’ll avoid the last minute scramble session in the morning, too.
- Lay out your clothes the night before
Ideally you’ll want to lay out 5 outfits on Sunday, and stick to the plan. We admit that while this sounds doable in theory, it might not go perfectly in practice. Someone will change their mind, decide they hate the color blue, or get their breakfast all over their dress… but it’s certainly worth a shot! Knowing that you have enough outfits to make it through the week without doing laundry every night will save you a ton of time. This goes for you AND your kids. The aforementioned last minute scramble in the morning is less likely if you’re well prepared to get dressed and out the door in time to make the bus.
- Stick to a regular bathroom schedule
When in doubt, bathe the kids at night. Once they’re older, and require a morning shower, discuss an order of operations for smooth morning routines. Who takes the longest to get ready? They’re showering first. Use a timer to help keep sleepy teens from losing track of time. Those of us with siblings remember the epic battles over the bathroom mirror in the morning. The best way to avoid this is having some semblance game plan – good luck!
- Meal prep!
Again, this goes for both you and the kids. Take inventory over the weekend to be sure you’re covered for the week. Planning ahead means you’re not running out to the grocery store at midnight on a Thursday because your kid refuses to eat his turkey sandwich without mustard, and someone just used the last of it with dinner. If you’re not packing every day, allocate lunch money in prepared, separate envelopes that are labeled and easy to grab. Store these in the homework station with backpacks, and they won’t be forgotten! Also, after dinner every night, decide on breakfast for the next morning, and set it aside. Prep what you can and you won’t be faced with finding out the hard way at 7:00am that someone already ate the last frozen waffle.
- Look at tomorrow’s weather
For most parts of the country, back to school season coincides with the storm season. Whether it’s a pop-up rain storm, snow or just cold, having the proper shoes/umbrellas/coats and extra time for traffic will again alleviate the morning scramble. Digging through your closet to find everyone a scarf while you’re running late means you’re losing precious minutes with your morning coffee. Now is a good time to start transitioning the summer clothes back to storage, and organizing the winter gear.
What timesaving tips did we forget? Share in the comments below!