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School started 2 weeks ago for my older two and I now have a Kindergartener (Hudson) and a Second Grader (Elle). While I was sad for summer to end, I appreciate the routine and predictability that the school year brings. Along with the routine comes the added activities and responsibilities and all that fun stuff that can sometimes make us feel like we are running around crazy. Today I am sharing 5 tips that help keep us on track and give us a better school year routine.
1. Prepare Night Before – This is a big one for us. Mornings can be hectic and I try to make our mornings as stress free as possible. I pack lunches and backpacks the night before. Laying clothes out the night before also helps avoid morning stress – my kids wear uniforms and I find that even laying those out helps them dress themselves.
2. Use a Shared Calendar – Family schedules can be pretty hard to organize. Doctor appointments, school meetings, practices, and family events all fill up the schedule. Sharing a calendar keeps both Aaron and I aware of our different commitments. We use the app Fantastical 2 and really like it – there are many similar apps available. This app allows you to color code each category or person. In addition to adding the appointment/event, you are able to add notes to it – we will include location of a game, if we need to bring something, or other notes associated with that particular event. etc. It syncs with both of our phones, iPads, and iWatches. You always have your phone with you, so you are always able to check your schedule on the spot.
3. Meal Plan – Meal planning is a must!!! I meal plan on Sunday nights for the entire week. We take our schedule into consideration and are able to adapt our menu to fit – take out on a busy night, quick and easy mean on the days I work. Meal planning ensures I have the ingredients on hand and eliminates that last minute ‘what should we have for dinner tonight?’ dilemma. We eat out less when we meal plan and it gives us many more family meals at home around our kitchen table. The kids will often weigh in on the menu and I think they enjoy having some say in what we eat 🙂
4. Keep the Kids Informed – Each night at dinner or during nighttime, we discuss what the next day holds. I find that this helps them not only be aware of what they have the next day, but also encourages responsibility as our discussion will evolve into what we need to bring or how we are getting there. My two year old even understands to a certain extent and will ask ‘daycare tomorrow? home tomorrow?’. Knowing what the next day holds can relieve some of their anxiety and also help keep mornings more calm as the kids are aware of what will be happening the next day.
5. Be Consistent in Routines – You will see countless articles on the importance of routines in young children. The same can be said for adults. Routines create stability, reduce anxiety, and help organize family life. Children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent. That being said, routines should not be too rigid so that they do not allow for some flexibility and input from the kids. This means keeping a consistent morning routine as well as evening routine. I find that our family’s most important routine is our bedtime routine. They look forward to bath, stories, cuddles, and prayers – rarely do we have one freak out when we say it is time for bed as they are looking forward to this fun time.
As always, thank you so much for stopping by!!
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