Back to School. Back in the Groove.
3 Routines To Keep Your Family Sane in September
Back to school means back to a routine for a lot of families. Sarah Hornung of The Eager Teacher shares a few tips to help keep your family on track.
Meal Prep Routines
I am a huge advocate for meal prepping. Not only does it ensure that we eat (somewhat) healthy, it saves us a ton of money and keeps us on our monthly budget. Here is my weekend grocery routine:
Saturday - I start by cleaning out the fridge on Saturday morning when I get up. I get rid of any old food and pull out anything that needs to be used up. My husband and I talk about what we plan to eat for dinner this week based on what we still have that is useful in the fridge. We look at our calendar and then plan out every dinner for the week using this pad that's on our fridge. Then I make my shopping list and hit the store! When I get home, I have a very specific routine for putting away groceries. Anything that is individually wrapped (like cheese sticks, cottage cheese cups, squeezable yogurts, granola bars, individually wrapped snacks etc.) I will take all apart and out of their bags/boxes and store them in open containers in the fridge/pantry so it is easy to grab on busy mornings. This also keeps our fridge and pantry from being cluttered with boxes and packaging.
Sunday - On Sunday mornings I wash and cut up all of our produce and make everything easy to grab during the week. When I get home from work at night, my kids are hangry and if I don't have dinner somewhat prepped and healthy snacks ready to grab, it is meltdown city. I prep containers of food and baggies of snacks and lunch items for myself. It also ensures we eat what we buy and don't waste food because we don't have time to wash it. If everything is washed and cut up, everyone will eat it!
The hardest part about going back to school is going to bed early again and getting everyone to settle down at a reasonable hour. In the summer my kids go to bed anytime between 9:00-10:00 because it stays light out so late and they play outside until the very last minute. During the school year, they go to bed between 7:30-8:00. I try to trim off 15 minutes per night until we are back to our 7:30-8:00 time. This way it doesn't feel like as much of a shock.
Here are a couple tips that help us streamline bedtime:
Start baths/showers as early as possible. If dinner is something that has to bake and can be left unattended, I will give my kids their baths while dinner is cooking so it's over and done with before we eat dinner. Then the only thing we have to do after dinner is relax, read books and brush teeth.
Put your kids in their school clothes at night. We started doing this and it saves time in the morning AND saves laundry since we never have jammies anymore. My son wears gym shorts and tee shirts every day, so he is comfortable sleeping in those clothes. I suppose this trick won't work for everyone, depending on what your kids like to wear. I wouldn't like sleeping in jeans :)
I try to do some of my bedtime routine while my kids are getting ready for bed. So when they are in the bath, I am washing my face in the bathroom. If they are playing or reading books in their rooms while they settle down, I am picking out my clothes for the next day and ironing. I am basically always multitasking so I can get to bed early too! If I wait until they are asleep to start my routines, then I stay up too late.
Sunday Night Calendar Routine
This is by far one of my favorite and most important routines. On Sunday nights, I plan out my week and write everything down that is happening that week. My husband and I have a shared Google calendar that we add items to as we go, so I open that up on my phone and copy over everything happening for the week on a monthly view calendar that hangs on our fridge, as well as my personal planner (yes, I keep a paper planner! I use the Erin Condren Life Planner) This is also when we talk about anything unusual happening this week and make arrangements (who will watch the kids if we both work late, who will take the kids to an appointment during the day, etc.) I also use this time to take all of our mail out of our mailbox (a box that hangs by our front door) and go through the pile. I pay any bills, fill out forms, and deal with anything that needs to be addressed before the week starts. I love starting the week with an empty mailbox so nothing ever gets too out of control.