With just a week and a half away, the first day of school is vastly approaching. In our last article, we spoke about ways to save money on your school supplies, clothes, and lunches. In this piece, we will discuss ways that help your child transition from summer days to school days easier, tips for parent’s night routine, things to do to prepare your child for the first day of school, and things to do to help you around the house with a busy schedule. Sometimes, establishing routines can be the hardest thing to do. After all, the old saying goes, “Bad habits are hard to break.” This is so true! Here are 10 tips just for you!
1.Once the body is used to staying up late, it is hard to retrain the mind to go to sleep early. However, with school starting, it’s time to retrain the kids to go to bed early. We always start about two weeks before school starts having our kids go to bed early. This helps them get back into the routine. The first couple of nights is almost a nightmare. There is a lot of crying, and at least one of our kids usually say at least once if not a million times to me, “But, I’m not sleepy!” So, therefore, I suggest starting early to reestablish a routine instead of waiting until the night before school starts. This helps you and your student to not have a really late night and both of you being exhausted during the day.
2. Start to limit screen time before school starts. This past month, weather has been hot! My kids have not wanted to play outside, and they have been more interested in indoor activities which has caused them to have more screen time than I would like. Starting Saturday, they will have a sign in/sign out chart to help them keep track of their screen time. According to the Academy of Pediatrics, children ages 2 to 5, should be limited in their screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programming. For ages above 5 years old, each child may be different to judge the appropriate time allowed, but they do suggest no more than two hours a day.
3. Also, while you are limiting the screen time, add some reading time! Sometimes, the schedule can be crazy during the summer, and some kids may not pick up a book all summer. Try to start making it a habit to read every night at least two to three weeks before school starts. This will help ensure confidence in your child when they have to go back to school and read to their teacher.
4. Last year, I started something that eventually I loved and will continue to do this year. I went to the Dollar General Store and purchased a small over-the-door coat rack and five $1 soft character gift bags. I wrote each day of the week on the bag (plus added what day they had P.E. on the bag) and hung each bag on the rack outside of their bedroom doors. This helped me each morning to have clothes already picked out and ready to go. It also helped me to not have to mess with finding clothes the night before. When I would be folding laundry, I would always refill the bags. It eliminated less clothes to have to put up while folding! This has been the best time saving trick I have ever done. Let’s face it! When you get home late from a ball game or practice, no one wants to go around digging through clean laundry (if you haven’t folded all your clean clothes yet) or digging in the closet looking for clothes for the next day. You are just ready for bed! So, if you pick out clothes for the week on Saturday, then you are ready and set for the coming week!
5. Another time-saving trick I started last year was purchasing a small three basket cart on wheels that I labeled on each bin, “chips,” “dessert,” and “snacks.” On Saturdays, I load up each of the three baskets with a variety of things that will work for when I pack lunches for the upcoming week. It was so easy to pack 6 lunches this way! All I had to do was make a sandwich and then I would pull the rest to place in their backpacks and lunchbox! It saved me so much time! Also, when the kids got out of school and were starving, I would allow them to have one snack right after school if it was an hour before dinner.
6. Several of our kids are in after school activities as well as sports, and some days it can seem crazy trying to remember everything! Having a cheap dry-erase wall-calendar or just a cheap wall- calendar makes it so handy to write things down to remind everyone what will be on the agenda for the next day. It can save you so much time, and it can serve as a reminder for your kids about which uniform they need to pack the night before! Also, consider purchasing a basket for papers that need to be signed that way as soon as your kids come home, they immediately put papers in the basket that need to be signed. You could even make a drop-off spot for backpacks, lunchboxes and coats. This way kids have designated areas where things need to be put, dropped off, or returned.
7. Try considering adding an Emergency Homework kit and/or an Emergency Breakfast for the car. SO many mornings, I have locked the front door, loaded up the kids, started my van to head to school, and hear, “Momma!!! I forgot to eat something for breakfast,” or “Momma, I forgot to brush my hair (or teeth).” So, I would shut the car off and run back into the house to retrieve a honey bun or hair brush. This year, I plan to have the emergency kits in my van! In the Emergency Items kit, we suggest a hair brush, pony tail holder, deodorant, baby wipes for messy faces, water bottles and fast breakfast ideas such as granola bars or honey buns. This trick could save your kid a tardy slip! Those extra trips back to the house cost more time! Also, add a pouch that has sharpened pencils, an ink pen, scissors, and glue. Just in case, your student may have some last minute math problems that they may have forgotten to do the night before.
8. Pick a day to have one last summer fun day with your child. This will mean so much to the student. The memories will last a life time. This is important to starting Kindergarteners as well as Seniors. One on one time with a parent can be worth so much. Students get stressed about new teachers, new rooms, new subjects, and even new schools. To have some encouragement and one on one time is priceless than any clothing or backpack that can be bought. Go to the park and have a picnic or go to a nice dinner, and most of all leave your phones in the car. This way communication takes place.
9. Take one day to practice your school morning routine and commute. This can help so much! It can help you plan how long it takes your child to get ready and awake, and it can help you know how long it will take you to load up everything and drive to the school. Remember to add about 5 extra minutes to your drive on the first week of school commute because of extra added traffic. If your child rides the bus, you can still practice!
10. Last but not lease, go to the “Back to School Night.” Believe it or not, this can save you so much time in the long run. Most schools all start their “Back to School Night” next week. When you take your child, you can bring their school supplies, so they won’t have a 50 lb. backpack the first day of school. Also, by going to the “Back to School Night,” you will receive a packet of papers to sign. SIGN THEM BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS. If you complete your child’s paperwork, then you don’t have to worry about it when school starts. This eliminates doing tedious things while your schedule is so hectic. One perk to doing this on time is that most schools offer students rewards or incentives if the paperwork is filled out by the required time.
Hopefully, you and your students now have a few extra tips and tools to help your family as the 2019-2020 School Year starts! Not all tips may work out for your family, but you would be amazed by trying a few of these how it will help save time for your family. Have a blessed school year!